Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Can somebody please send me an Altoids; in fact, can you make it an entire can?? I sense that I must have the worst breath in the world, and I love it! We just paid a visit to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy California, the garlic capital of the world! Every year around the nation, there are lots of food festivals both large and small, for example in Maine, there is the Lobster Festival and there is the Crawdad Festival in Isleton, California, not to mention New York and its Ninth Avenue International Food Festival with over twenty blocks of every type of cuisine imaginable. However, I have come to the conclusion that none, have the international appeal and as much flair, as the Gilroy Garlic Festival!
Every summer some 4000 volunteers and hordes of media converge on Northern California?s Christmas Hill Park to partake of this ?stinky? herb and the gastronomic inventions that make Gilroy famous!! Gilroy residents live and breathe, garlic "ah hum" I mean live and breathe the Garlic Festival. Volunteers literally plan the Garlic Festival every year, promote and participate in every aspect of the the Garlic Festival. That is what the City of Gilroy has done year after year for the last 26 years, all for charity. Over 160 charities benefit from this three-day event. Since the festival?s inception in 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association has awarded more than 6 million dollars to local charities. Some of the best food in be world can be found in this town only 10.26 square miles with a median housing range of $410,000. Gilroy is located 30 miles south of Silicon Valley and 30 miles north of beautiful Monterey, California. The festival boasts that it has welcomed its 3,000,000th guest at this year?s event with 122,675 attendees just this year alone!
This year, the Garlic Festival had its usual faire which included such items as Garlic Ice Cream, Garlic Fries, Gator Tail, Rattlesnake, Scampi, and Calamari, however the menu also offered some new and unusual additions like Penne Pasta Con Pesto and a really great guacamole, some merely mediocre crawdads and of course, my personal favorite the Garlic Fried Bologna Sandwich. I actually remember many days eating fried bologna sandwiches back in Philadelphia Pa, (the hardest part was keeping the ends from curling up during the frying process). What I did not know was that fried bologna sandwiches were invented by a restaurant in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York, named Jimmy?s. The present day inventors of the garlic bologna sandwich are really on to something. This is a sandwich on steroids, full of flavor and a wonderful addition to the Gilroy Garlic Festival?s already flavorful menu.
The Garlic Festival falls under the category of being one of the best festivals in Northern California and by far a gourmet food lover?s paradise, offering something for everyone, even the kids, with a complete children?s area where the little ones can participate in hands on activities and musical events. There is a rock wall for climbing and an arm-wrestling contest just to mention a few of the activities. In Gourmet Alley, a regular attraction at the festival, you can enjoy the PyroChefs cooking up Calamari and other wonderful delicacies infused with garlic, several chefs side by side with flames shooting up to 10 feet high in the air in unison. I was privileged enough to be allowed to visit behind the scenes where I witnessed an orchestra of hard working volunteers with a sort of rhythmic fiery flow while they cook up some of the Garlic Festivals beloved favorites. Gourmet Alley was broadcast online live on Amici?s East Coast Pizzeria?s webcam.
So, how do you get tickets? The bad new is that you have missed it for this year, the good news is that you can set your calendar for next July 29th through 31st 2005. So make plans to visit the 27th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival by logging onto gilroygarlicfestival to keep updated.

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