Meet Hugh Davis, Garlic Festival president

Hugh Davis is the 2012 Gilroy Garlic Festival president.

When a young, new-to-Gilroy Hugh Davis volunteered to pour beer at the Garlic Festival’s beer garden 25 summers ago, he had a blast, and knew right away he’d be hooked for life. To the Garlic Festival, that is.
He’s since volunteered at the Garlic Festival in some capacity every year, working his way up the rungs of garlic hierarchy, where he now serves as 2012’s Garlic Festival volunteer president.
“I can’t imagine not being a part of the Garlic Festival,” Davis said.
Davis, 59, works as a manager for Westpak, Inc, a packaging engineering company in San Jose.
Originally adamant about not moving to Gilroy, Davis saw the Garlic Capital as way too isolated from the rest of the Bay Area.
But cheaper home prices proved to be an easy choice, and in 1985, Davis purchased his first Gilroy home.
Twenty-six years later, Davis couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. When asked what has kept him here all these years, Davis paused.
“The people,” he said. “Gilroy is the most family friendly town in the Bay Area.”
And despite Gilroy’s small town appeal, Davis loves the fact that it is nationally – and even internationally – recognized. And it’s all because of the Garlic Festival, he said.
“I travel all over the world with my job, and I’ll be sitting on a plane with someone and mention I’m from Gilroy, and their response will be, ‘Oh yeah Gilroy, the Garlic Festival,’” Davis said.
Although Davis will be hard-pressed for a spare moment at this year’s Garlic Festival, he’ll make it a priority to feast on a pepper steak sandwich from Gourmet Alley.
Davis has been married to his wife, Dawn, for nearly 32 years. His son Matthew is married and in culinary school in Houston, Texas, and his daughter Ashley lives in Hollister with her husband and 2-year-old son, Hayden.
Outside his regular job, and the work he puts into the Garlic Festival, Davis can be found planting and picking blueberries and cherry tomatoes in his backyard with Hayden, who loves to eat fruits and vegetables of all types.

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