Garlic 31: Mission accomplished


This week the vast majority of 108,519 people will tell their
friends what a great time they had at this year’s fest.
There’s just such a great spirit that permeates our Garlic Festival. It’s like the garlic scent envelops Christmas Hill Park and wards off the vampires each year.

Festival Thirty-one-derful came off without a noteworthy hitch. The pepper steak sandwiches were better than ever, the calamari to die for, the weather morning-fog perfect and, most importantly, the crowds were healthy and happy. People left ready to spread the news about what a good time the last full weekend is in Gilroy.

That the festival has such a wonderful word-of-mouth reputation has something, of course, to do with the food. But it’s mostly about how we treat our guests. Gilroy’s 4,000 or so volunteers are helpful and hard-working. They care about the customers and they appreciate the success that is so important to so many community groups every year.

Who could have imagined 31 years ago that more than $8 million would be plowed back into the community and that 4,000 strong would lend a hand to make it all work? Perhaps even more astounding is that those volunteers understand just how important their service is in the overall scheme. “Many hands make light work,” captures the volunteer spirit, but it’s amazing how hard many people work – and they do so gladly.

Garlic Festival President Kirsten Carr has worked hard at the festival for years. She joins a long line of those who have presided over smooth events. A tip of the funky garlic hat to her, and to the staff – Executive Director Brian Bowe, Assistant Director Joann Kessler and Administrative Support Manager Chris Filice. Those folks work hard all year to make sure everything runs like clockwork come July’s end.

Though it’s tough to find anything that needs improvement, numerous festival-goers missed Herbie and would have paid more to secure the festival’s mascot bobblehead. Design and order Herbie 2010 early so the collectors can keep collecting. And, of course, there’s probably no replacing the rock ‘n’ roll band and longtime festival favorite, Shaboom. But perhaps the festival should try.

The new Hub and Pub hospitality area likely needs some tweaking as far as drink tickets go, but a shady place for volunteers to eat is a nice touch.

Gilroy should today pat itself on its collective back: Garlic mission accomplished.

This week the vast majority of 108,519 people will tell their friends what a great time they had at this year’s fest. A like number will be back next year, and that’s what makes Gilroy’s Garlic Festival great. It’s all about happy people.