A Garlic Top 10

KITCHEN TALENT Each year hundreds of home chefs participate in the Great Garlic Cook-Off. This year a brand new challenge will feature teams of first-responders competing for charity.Photo: Bill Strange

It’s that time of year again, the pungent aroma is in the air as everyone ramps up for the 2016 Garlic Festival, coming July 29-31. What a way to end the month!!

Here is a list of the top 10 attractions at this year’s festival. Take a look and get ready to pick your favorites!



1. With the Gilroy Garlic Festival touted as the greatest summer food festival ever, the No. 1 attraction has to be the food. There will be food vendors of every kind offering a variety of treats to please any palate with options like Cajun cheesesteak sliders, garlic salmon, hot wings, sangria, wine coolers, soda for the non-alcoholic crowd and even wood-fired pizza.

2. For the first time ever that the festival will be hosting the Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge. A Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned, four-meat championship series event. In addition to the competition, there will be an opportunity for attendees to purchase a sampling ticket to enjoy the BBQ dishes.

3. On Friday, July 29, the brand new Champions for Charity challenge will feature teams of first responders competing on the Cook-Off Stage for a $3,000 prize, which they can donate to the charity of their choice.

4. If you are a country music fan, on Saturday, July 30, KRTY presents three great country acts, Brooke Eden, Drew Baldridge, and The Last Bandoleros. Slip on your boots and kick up your heels at any one of these fun musical performances.

5. This year’s festival has every type of music lover covered, offering sounds of the ’60-’70s Rock, R &B, an Elvis Tribute band, Retro Swing/Jazz band, a Monkees Tribute band (come on, who doesn’t love the Monkees?), and much more. Check the festival website, gilroygarlicfestival.com, under entertainment, for times and locations.

6. Don’t miss the chance to meet the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen, Kyle Perez-Robinson, along with her royal garlic court, which will be in attendance all three days of the festival.

7. This year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival’s annual Art Poster Contest winning entry by artist, Sherry Harig, of Huachuca City, Arizona, is a must-see. Her poster combines acrylic paint and colored pencil on a textured burlap background. “Our judges all really loved the simplicity of this poster,” says Marsha Struzik, chair of the Festival’s Retail Committee. “It’s really just about the garlic.”

8. A must-see attraction is the Festival Flame-Up Contest. But this year is the first time that attendees will have the chance to do their own flame-up. If selected as the winner of the Festival’s Facebook Flame-Up Contest, you’ll get to work with experienced Pyro Chefs to learn tricks of the trade and perform them in front of adoring crowds.

9. More than 100 artists and craftsmen from around the country display their unique creations each year at the festival. An assortment of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography, glass, wood, and mixed media will be on display. Arts and crafts booths are located on both sides of the festival grounds (park side and ranch side), be sure to visit both sections.

10. Now, for the last must-see attraction on this year’s list (drum roll please): Mr. Garlic. This marks the 29th and final year for the current Mr. Garlic, and with that legacy he well deserves our recognition and our appreciation. Make sure to say hello when you see him.

Local’s Day tickets can be purchased at the gate on Friday, July 29. Show your local ID, and save $5 on general admission. Or purchase a local’s 3-day pass for $30 at the gate on Friday.