Gilroy Today 2007 07 July/Aug





Celebration of garlic … a source of community pride and vitality .

Festival General Admission : $ 12.00
Steak Sandwich at Gourmet Alley : $ 6.00
Bobble Head at the Mercantile : $ 13.00
Souvenir Wine Glass : $ 10.00


July 27th , the 29th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival will unfold . About 130,000 visitors will flock into our community to help us celebrate the pungent bulb , garlic . And over 4,000 of us will volunteer to help make this year ’ s event a success .
As in past years , there will be lots of great food , cooking demonstrations , children and adult entertainment , arts and crafts and garlic souvenirs . There will also be a couple new things : 1 ) the authentic Gilroy Garlic Festival garlic french fries as only Gourmet Alley can make them ; and , 2 ) the new Garlic Showdown featuring prominent Bay Area chefs competing in an Iron Chef competition on the Cook-Off Stage at High Noon on Sunday .
But the Garlic Festival story isn ’ t really about a mere three days in July . It ’ s about a community — a community of volunteers that come together time and time again to not just put on one of the best food festivals in the world but to help the local non-profit organizations
do the great jobs that they do throughout the year . In 2006 volunteers contributed almost 42,000 hours of service to the Festival . Assuming an average work year of around 2,080 hours , volunteers contributed the equivalent of about 20 years of work . That is phenomenal !
As a result of all those volunteer hours — in the Gilroy Garlic Festival ’ s 28 years of existence — it has given back some $ 7,500,000 to the community , an average of over $ 277,000 per year . Volunteer hours have equated to dollars each year since the very first festival in 1979 . Five local nonprofit organizations benefited from the first festival , sharing in the $ 4,500 that was dispersed . Last year , 2006 , 169 organizations shared $ 253,000 . Other contributions have included part of the purchase of the ranch site at Christmas Hill Park and other park improvements totaling $ 840,000 ; $ 200,000 to the Gilroy Foundation , and $ 250,000 to the Gilroy High School for a new activity center . Also , a $ 250,000 pledge has been made to the Gilroy Cultural Center with $ 100,000 already paid .
Several organizations use the Festival as an opportunity to develop teamwork and comradery . Have you ever had a chance to watch the Gators Swim Club swarm over the Festival grounds as the gates close ?
Community Pride : PRICELESS
Continued on page 16
July / August 2007