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December 4, 2023

Garlic Festival’s first 2022 event draws dozens of golfers

Only the flames coming from the garlic-laden pans were hotter than the weather on June 24.

With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association’s Golf Tournament took place at the Gilroy Golf Course, marking the first in a series of events on tap for 2022.

Garlic Festival Association President Jeff Speno said the sold-out event drew a capacity of 72 golfers. 

“Everyone’s having a good time,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and people seem to be enjoying it.”

gilroy garlic festival golf tournament
Golf Tournament Chair Julie Barberi (from left), Festival Association President Jeff Speno and Paula McDermott enjoy the shade during the sweltering weather on June 24. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Speno noted that although the play on the course might not have been all that serious, the light-hearted event did serve an important cause.

After a gap in donating to nonprofits in 2021, the association has a goal to raise $40,000 in 2022, which will be distributed to organizations through grant applications and volunteer hours.

Speno thanked 2022 event sponsors Christopher Ranch and Blaettler Accountancy, adding that the association has also received many in-kind donations this year to help offset costs. In addition, each hole at the Gilroy Golf Course was sponsored by a different business.

Following the tournament, about 50 people were treated to a Gourmet Alley-themed dinner and a flame-up pyro chef show, featuring favorites such as pepper steak sandwiches, calamari and more.

Speno said 20 volunteers helped put on the event, stationed at various areas along the course and taking on the numerous duties needed to run a successful tournament.

“We’ve got a lot of volunteers,” he said. “Everybody wants to do something, wants to be out, wants to help.”

The June 24 event marked the Garlic Festival Association’s first activity of 2022, after earlier this year announcing it would not host its traditional massive festival for the foreseeable future.

Its next event, a concert with KRTY, will take place July 13 at Clos La Chance Winery in San Martin. KRTY will bring in Nashville songwriters Wendell Mobley and Lee Thomas Miller, who have written songs for country music superstars Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton and others.

The festival also recently announced Sept. 10 as the date for its farm-to-table dinner at Gavilan College.

“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t do the full-on in-person event, but we’re making that up by having these smaller events,” Speno said.

Tickets are now on sale for the concert. For information, visit gilroygarlicfestivalassociation.com.

John Muro (left) reacts as his putt just misses its mark while Shawn Chizanskos cheers him on. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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