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September 26, 2022

A queenly shriek for garlic

The third time turned out to be the charm for Gilroy’s Wendy McAllister, a 24-year-old substitute teacher who earned the 1999 Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen title Saturday night.
McAllister’s energy spilled over into the audience as she got members Involved In her song and speech. For the talent competition, McAllister sang a country song called “No One Else on Earth,” and had the audience clapping along.
McAllister also won the garlic speech award for her presentation, which had the audience roaring with laughter. Dressed as a cheerleader and pretending to be at the Garlic Festival, McAllister again got the audience cheering along with her, answering her shout of “Eat!” with “Garlic!” and her cry of “Stink!” with “Tonight!”
‘then, proclaiming, “I can’t hold my garlic spirit any longer!” McAllister ran across the stage, leading the audience in the wave.
“It feels phenomenal,” she said of winning the crown. “My whole goal was to get the audience involved and have fun. It’s a lot of hard work and a major goal for me accomplished.”
A graduate of Brigham Young University, McAllister has interned with the United States Army, working with youth sports In Japan. She was the first runner up in last year’s competition, as well as in 1997. She is currently working on a country music CD.
As the new queen, McAllister’s duties will include representing Gilroy and the Garlic Festival at the events leading up to the annual festival, such as the Tour de Garlique bike ride, as well luncheons and parades. She also may get the chance to represent Gilroy in Japan, at the Garlic and Beef Festival in Gilroy’s sister city, Takko Machi. And of course, she will take an active part in the three-day Garlic Festival in July.
The pageant included talent, a garlic speech and evening gown competitions, as well as an impromptu question. The contestants had also been interviewed by the judges before the competition.
Sarah Beams, a 20-year-old front Gilroy, was selected first runner-up. She was second runner-up a year ago, and will take over the queen’s duties if McAllister is unable to perform them during her year reign as queen.
Elyssa Xavier, an 18-year-old from Morgan Hill, was selected second runner-up. She also was a 1998 Gilroy Garlic Princess.
For the talent competition, Beams and Xavier danced, and McAllister, 19-year-old Amanda Martin and 20-year-old Andrea Bertero sang.
The impromptu part of the evening included questions about what the contestants could add to the role of the Garlic Festival Queen and how it would help them in the future.
“It will help me in the future by preparing me to be the best person I can be, as far as public appearances, and personally, as far as reaching my goals,” McAllister replied.
McAllister was crowned by last year’s queen, Christina Carrier, who also gave a farewell speech.
“Tonight brings an end to 12 terrific months,” she said. “People wondered what I would be like. I sincerely hope that any doubt would be put aside and replaced by my smile.”
And all the contestants were winners. Martin was voted Miss Congeniality, an award given by the other contestants, and Xavier won the talent award for her dance to the song “Lov. ‘ Gets Me.”
For the garlic speech, contestants were judged on the creativity, confidence, presentation and content of their speeches about garlic. They also had the option to. sing, which some did, changing the words to popular songs. Bertero sang “Everything’s Coming up Garlic,” and Martin
sang, “I’ve Got Friends in Stinky Places.”
Two of the contestants each received a $500 scholarship,. one from Scott Lynch of Bob Lynch Ford, which went to of Bertero, and one from Max aqui Juanita Contin, sponsored by: Gilroy Foods in memory of •••:: their daughter Ana Margarita–: Contin, which went to Beanis.
Radio personalities Don Potter and Lissa Kriesler of KBAY 94.5 FM emceed the pageant, and the judges included County Supervisor t. Don Gage, Dawn Pattereau-Rodrigues, a certified judge of Miss California Pageants, Miss Garlic 1990 Kim Yafai, beauty-consultant Debbie Sooy and “.1 KSBW Channel 8 news anchofs Dan Green and Kate Callaghan.
A number of former Garlic’. Festival queens attended and
some helped Saturday’s contestants backstage. The evening also included a tribute to the first queen, Rose Emma Pellicione, who was crowned 44 years ago.
“She was crowned Miss -, Garlic 1955 to promote Gilroy Garlic even before the idea of a garlic festival,” said the 1983 queen, Lauretta Barsi Avina.
The pageant kicks off the Garlic Festival season, said Randy Costa, president of the, Garlic Festival association. ,’: Costa noted that more than. 4,000 people volunteer their time each year, and during the last 20 years, volunteers have,, helped raised more than $5 , • million, which has gone to more than 150 local charities:
“The young ladies on the stage have shown that they ,. , understand the importance of volunteering,” he said. “By serving as the Garlic Festival’s only roving ambassador, she” (the Garlic Festival Queen) is truly the queen of our volunteers.”

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