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Gilroy
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March 3, 2021

Awards for our brightest stars and hopefully plenty of raindrops coming

It’s a bang-up hit parade for the annual Spice of Life Chamber awards Saturday night with a glittering tribute on our front page to the winners. One of my favorite quotes comes from Lisa Cassara-Faria who, when asked what she loved about Gilroy said, “The people are the bomb.” So true, it’s all about the people, and it’s people like Lisa, and Don DeLorenzo, and Kai Lai, and …. who make Gilroy great. Hopefully that star-studded gala event can make a re-appearance in our sparkling town next year. Nothing against San Juan Oaks, but the city’s brightest awards ceremony ought to be shining right here in our town.
The Garlic Queen has more than 15 minutes of fame in our town, and here’s a reminder: applications for “Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival” are due in Friday, Feb. 7 ladies. Perhaps there are some last-minute wafflers out there who need a roasted-garlic kick in the bulb. It’s open to ladies between 18 and 24 and the judging is on personal interview, talent, evening gown, and what is usually a riotous two-minute speech intertwining garlic and life.
Life will be better if it rains heavily this weekend. That’s the prediction, but these days the clouds dissipate faster than the latest plans for the California high-speed rail.
No railroad needed to get to the Gilroy book depository. Check this line-up for Saturday which head librarian Lani Yoshimura kindly sent over: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Friends of the Library Book Sale in lobby; 10:30 a.m. – City of Gilroy Disaster Preparation Class; 11 a.m. – Rhythm, Rattle, and Rock Storytime in The Nest; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Covered California Enrollment on second floor; 3 p.m. – Silicon Valley Reads Author Talk: Robin Sloan, second floor community room and at 3:30 p.m. – Garlicky Poets: Open Poetry Readings first floor meeting room. Well, it’s no wonder the parking lot is packed.
Super Bowl pools were packed with winners, but not in the Derry family this year. Miss Jenny had great numbers – like 7 and 3 and 0 – but those went out the proverbial window on the first snap from scrimmage when hapless Denver hiked the football over the head of helpless Peyton Manning and Seattle notched a two-point safety. Oh, well, the Paloma drinks – a grapefruit based shrub that marinated for a week – combined with silver tequila – and the San Francisco sandwiches, thinly sliced beef on a ciabatta roll topped with fresh crab meat, kept our small cadre very well fed and watered.
Well watered and well fed will be those who save the date for the annual Latino Family Fund Tequila fundraiser set for May 3 at the lovely restored Willey House downtown. The $40 tickets are well worth the price of admission. Only 125 tickets for sale this year, so put the date in your phone and look for upcoming details. Proceeds will go to expand the Youth in Philanthropy program which dovetails quite nicely with the community service requirement for high school students.
Wonder if the lagging students can get community service hours for attending the next Coffee with the Mayor on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m. in Gilroy City Council Chambers. Bet Mayor Don could give the students plenty of ideas for racking up community service hours so they can secure their high school diplomas – and there are probably donuts available, too.
We really don’t need a downtown donut house, but Gilroy could sure use a craft brewery downtown that served up good beer and creative pub fare. Our city editor Blair Franklin blurted that out last week, and I wholeheartedly agree. When Coast Range Brewery, housed in an old warehouse south of the train station parking lot, started making good beer, plans were to open a downtown eatery. Never happened and Coast Range has long since gone, but a brewery should definitely be somewhere on “the downtown target” list. Heck, even Hollister has a thriving one – the Grillin’ and Chillin’ Alehouse.
An alehouse would go nicely with Kellen McBain’s very popular Bella Viva wine bar downtown where the fireside patio tables and the warm interior draw an upscale and happy crowd. With Adam Sanchez and Ann Zyburra setting a consistently classy standard at the Milias Restaurant and events galore at Station 55, there’s some momentum building. A few more key businesses and the shoring up of and occupancy in the 18 remaining unreinforced masonry buildings and we just might have some buzz going on downtown.
Plenty of buzz for Gilroy Unified School District Trustee Fred Tovar who received a high honor from his college alma mater. Fred is the 2014 Signum Fidei Award winner from Saint Mary’s College for “outstanding participation in the goals of higher education, in the spirit of the founder of the Christian Brothers, patron of all teachers, Saint John Baptist De La Salle.” He’s ’95 graduate with a degree in psychology. In honoring him, the university described Fred as “having the ability to excel at making others excel.” At the Stanford University School of Medicine he’s the director of student affairs, assistant director of admissions and civic instructor. In Gilroy, he’s a member of the best school board group in many years.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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