Are you ready for some Garlic Festival Gilroy style?

Woke up, got out of bed, checked out the thick fog blanket above
my head … perfect way to greet Thursday morning the day before
G-Fest weekend.
Woke up, got out of bed, checked out the thick fog blanket above my head … perfect way to greet Thursday morning the day before G-Fest weekend. Need that summer cooler layer to hover over the parking lots and grounds at Christmas Hill park until about 10:45 a.m. or so before slowly vanishing and heating up the hottest garlic party west of the Pecos, river that is …

Coolers flow like a river at the Gilroy Foundation Wine Cooler booth, #6 in the row north and west of the Cook-off Stage. Stop by and grab a cold Gugliemo Winery cooler – hey, have two, it’s for a good cause – and goes perfectly with the new-old pasta con pesto. Can’t wait to taste the new-old pesto. Back are the spaghetti noodles, back is the garlicky goodness with a modified recipe that won’t drench the noodles in oil. We’re smuggling in a smidgen of shaved parmigiano reggiano to sprinkle on the top and then, mangia! But the truth is the pesto pasta will come after the Gourmet Alley calamari. That’s the Gilroy Garlic Festival cat’s meow in my book. Nothing like it anywhere, fired to perfection by John Vickroy and the Pyro Chefs who know what’s what when it comes to flame ups and timing. That squid and that sauce with a slice of garlic bread rocks.

Raucous good-natured dancing fun was always found at the amphitheater when

G-Fest forever favorite Shaboom hit the stage. Kind of sad that the old rock ‘n’ roll gang couldn’t be there at the christening of the beautifully revamped amphitheater, complete with its sail-like shade covering, overhauled seating area and new sound system. But, hey, time to wander around the grounds and form new g-Tunes loyalties. Lucas Ohio Pattie, who’s on at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Gazebo Stage, is a good bet. He knows how to rock the house and his grandparents are longtime Gilroyans, Frank and Mary Jane Pattie. If you love the blues, there’s none better than Gilroy’s own John Garcia, who’s on at the Gazebo right before Lucas at 11:45 a.m. Then, finish off Saturday with Morgan Hill-bred Shane Dwight at the amphitheater from 3 to 4 p.m. On the country circuit, my gracious PR buddy Amanda says not to miss the returning Kelly McDonald Band on the Vineyard Stage Sunday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The band that wins this year’s name game prize, however, is Sean Wiggins & The Lone Goat appearing from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Vineyard Stage … Must’ve been a lonely night … (Nope, don’t ask me, ask Entertainment Chair Rich DellaMaggiore).

Ada Wong, the Gilroy finalist in Biggest Loser Season 10 who became a favorite of the viewing audience, will grace the Cook-off Stage at 3:45 p.m. Friday alongside the SakaBozzo local celebrity chef duo of Gene Sakahara and Sam Bozzo. Healthy cooking with Sam, Gene and Ada … should be a real hoot.

Hey, and Biggest Loser Gilroy style is happening post-Fest right here in our town at BAM, the new Herbalife-based healthy smoothie shop just down from Mama Mia’s in the Hecker Pass Plaza. Michelle Vance, hubby Bill and their daughter Nikki started the retail locale a few months ago and the smoothies are flying out the door with the pounds. The biggest losers in the group split a cash prize at the end of the contest, but, as Michelle notes, everyone’s a winner because along the weigh-in way are lessons about nutrition, hydration, carbs – the good, bad and ugly – and a whole bunch of motivating fun and prizes. Stop by or ring them up at 842-BAM1. BTW, Michelle works parking at the G-Fest and absolutely loves the job. Now there’s the definition of a positive person.

Ditto with Gilroy’s JoAnne “Positive” Perez Robinson, winner of this year’s poster contest – it’s a vibrant beauty – and purveyor of fine art. Always a worthwhile stop when you’re ready for an arts and crafts stroll to slow down the pace, JoAnne will be in booth #324 on the park side. There’s probably a perfect wall in your home for one of her colorful and soothing still lifes, street scenes or landscapes. Plus, her touch on her mini-paintings, which are perfect for a special niche or as a gift, is extraordinarily detailed.

Just down the way in booth #336 is another very talented Gilroy artist, Whitney Pintello McClelland. Her reverse paintings on glass which are done mostly on vintage windows, are cool, captivating and have a certain je ne se qua. And besides, if you’re thinking about getting hitched anytime soon, Whitney’s a professional officiant, too. So, admire the paintings and chat about your upcoming nuptials – for sure, right down the row there’s a jewelry maker where you can order up a wedding ring.

Wedded to creating a remarkable legacy of community generosity is one of the Garlic Festival co-founders, Don Christopher, who with his wife Karen, recently donated another $50,000 to get the new Gilroy Center for the Arts downtown into functional shape for holding performances and events. The project’s being facilitated by the Gilroy Foundation which is working with the Gilroy Arts Alliance. Yep, that’s another $50,000. When the estimate came in near $100k for constructing an ADA bathroom, a storage room, new flooring, new interior lighting, some outdoor security lighting, paving the dirt parking lot on the corner, and erecting a sign and marquee, Don and Karen stepped right up to make sure the job got done. So, if you see Don and Karen at the Fest, just say thank you to them both for being such generous benefactors to our community.

Further demonstration of generosity is clear in the outpouring of support shown for the “One for Brian” golf tournament slated for Friday, Sept. 9 at the Gilroy Golf Course to help raise funds for our Garlic Festival director’s battle against carcinoid cancer. Mark Sanchez, Rich Perez, Bobby Baksa, Chris Wheeler, Mike Wasserman, Barbara DeLorenzo, Kai and Libby Lai, Debbie Pellicione, Don Gage and Shannon Catalano, thanks for stepping up. If you’d like tourney info just shoot me an email.

Lastly, though the publicity is a G-Fest bonus, my baby and me don’t need no stinkin’ Scope – just eat all the garlic you want and remember the first rule of a good relationship – share.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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