33 years of the best garlic party – Who knew?

Welcome to the 33rd. Who knew? Who knew that there would be 33
when the first one started oh so many years ago at Bloomfield Ranch
in 1979?
Welcome to the 33rd. Who knew?

Who knew that there would be 33 when the first one started oh so many years ago at Bloomfield Ranch in 1979?

– Who knew that some volunteers – now a cadre of 4,000 strong – would take vacation days to prepare for our garlic party?

– Who knew that more than $8 million would be plowed back into community organizations?

– Who knew that there would be additional monies available for projects like revamping the amphitheater at Christmas Hill Park, constructing a new student center at Gilroy High School and purchasing park land – the Ranch site at Christmas Hill – for all Gilroy residents to enjoy?

– Who knew that stalwart volunteers like Erwin Boggs could claim with pride that they’ve volunteered at every Garlic Festival except the first?

– Who knew that one of the co-founders of the festival, Rudolph Joseph Melone, the gregarious former president of Gavilan College who passed away in 1998, would leave such a legacy?

n Who knew that such a big idea could spring from a two-inch newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle Rudy read about a garlic festival in Arleux, France?

n Who knew Don Christopher, the generous entrepreneur leading Christopher Ranch to garlic business prowess, would be inspired to create the foundation for the festival?

– Who knew that Valentino Filice, who passed away in 2007 and has long been reverently referred to as the godfather of Gourmet Alley, would come up with mouth-watering recipes that would woo the masses for garlic eternity?

– Who knew that the Gilroy Garlic Festival could become an incredible “media darling” attracting local, regional and worldwide attention in print, on television and now on the ubiquitous Internet?

– Who knew that world-famous chefs like Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse, Fabio Viviani and Angelo Sosa would flock to grace a Cook-off Stage that now has towering mirrors and sophisticated microphones and everything for the kitchen that’s nice?

– Who knew that Gilroy’s John Zekanoski, a man of incredibly humble background, could entertain crowds for three hours on the Cook-off Stage? (Check out the show Friday morning.)

– Who knew that the Vickroy boys, Pat and John, would be in 6,589,423 Alley flame-up and food-prep photos distributed around the world?

– Who knew that we’d get to a point where a son, 2010 volunteer president Greg Bozzo, would follow in his father’s footsteps, 1990 president Sam Bozzo, with the same passion and zest for the fest?

– Who knew that the Gilroy Garlic Festival would attract and hold amazing full-time staff members – Brian Bowe, Joann Kessler, Chris Filice and the late Garlic #1, Dick Nicholls?

– Who knew that the Gilroy Garlic Festival would become a perpetual source for Gilroy Pride and power the unique spirit combining volunteerism and generosity which exists here?

We didn’t know then what we know now – garlic has been so good to us. Gilroyans have done the hard work to make the festival seem effortless as it comes together each year. It’s anything but. The sustained effort is amazing.

There isn’t another community-powered festival around that holds a candle to ours. Longevity, we have it. Fun and entertainment, more than you can shake a garlic braid at. Fabulous food, it’s around every corner.

Garlic hats off to Gilroy, keep the vampires away and the garlic spirit well tended.

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