Unfortunately, for the third time in as many years, the Garlic Festival, due to numerous circumstances, will not take place. The community’s largest “family reunion,” to the disappointment of everyone, is on hold.
What’s more disappointing is the firestorm of name-calling, finger-pointing (especially at the City), and the intentional effort to cause dissention and disunity amongst Gilroy residents, businesses and organizations involved with the Garlic Festival.
The Garlic Festival has always had a way of bringing the community together. The incident that occurred at the close of the 2019 Garlic Festival brought the community together like no other time before. It’s understandable that so many people are disappointed about the fact there will be no Garlic Festival again this year. However, the one event that united this community in the past now seems to be the event that has divided it.
There are many factors that come into play when planning such a large event, especially after what took place in 2019. It’s easy to point the finger at someone else and blame them as some have chosen to do. The problem is, the finger-pointing does not solve the problem, it only makes it worse.
We need to come together and ask some serious questions around the future of the Garlic Festival along with Gilroy’s moniker as the Garlic Capital of the World. We need to address questions such as:
1. What can we do to work through the obstacles?
2. What are the non-negotiables and what are the alternatives?
3. What does a reimagined festival look like?
4. What possibilities exist for a new location?
5. How can we come together to find solutions?
Not only are we better together, we are better than what I’ve seen play out on social media the last several days. This community, along with business and non-profit leaders, have never failed to rise to the occasion to overcome problems, challenges and difficulties. For all parties involved, collaboration is the key. Now is not the time to point the finger of blame but to seek solutions and a way of bringing back the pride and joy of our community.
President/CEO, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce