Over 102,000 Visitors Celebrate Bigger, Better, Bolder Gilroy Garlic Festival

2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 28, 29 and 30, 2017



Over 102,000 Visitors Celebrate Bigger, Better, Bolder Gilroy Garlic Festival

August 1, 2017 (Gilroy, CA): The 39th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival welcomed 102,667 guests from around the world to Christmas Hill Park this past weekend to enjoy tasty garlic food, live entertainment, celebrity chef appearances, and family fun.

2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival President Mike Zukowski said, “Our vision for 2017 was to go bigger, better, and bolder—and we definitely did that! It was an honor to welcome major culinary stars Giada De Laurentiis and MasterChef Season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale to the Cook-Off Stage. We also introduced the brand-new Gilroy Garlic Shrimp on Gourmet Alley, opened a new open-air Wine Garden, and were officially recognized by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS as the world’s largest garlic festival. I’m so grateful to our entire Association and the over 4,000 volunteers who worked so hard to host the world’s largest garlic-themed party!”

In a special ceremony on Friday, representatives from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® officially certified the Gilroy Garlic Festival as the world record holder for largest attendance at a garlic festival. The record was set July 29-31, 2011, with a total audited attendance of 109,067.

Competition on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage kicked off on Friday with the Champions for Charity cooking challenge, emceed by Shaun O’Neale. This live competition featured four teams of local first responders competing in three elimination rounds (appetizer, entrée, and dessert) to win $3,000 for their favorite charity. John Campbell and Morgan Sanders from AMR-Rural/Metro Ambulance, Santa Clara County will be donating their winnings to the Alzheimer's Association.

On Saturday, Naylet LaRochelle from Miami, FL claimed the coveted garlic crown –and a $5,000 cash prize – in the Great Garlic Cook-Off, one of the nation’s most prestigious amateur cooking contests. Naylet’s winning dish was “Smoky Salsa Roja Shrimp and Roasted Garlic Cotija Grits”. Second place was awarded to Kadija Bridgewater from Boca Raton, FL., for “Spicy Island Barbeque Pork, Garlic Fries and Cilantro-Garlic Sauce,” and third place was awarded to Shauna Havey from Roy, UT., for “Roasted Garlic Raspberry Brown Betty with Garlic Black Pepper Gelato.”

On Sunday, four professional chefs faced off in the Iron Chef-style “Garlic Showdown,” hosted this year by Food Network superstar Giada De Laurentiis. Contestants prepared two dishes using a “Secret Ingredient" which was stone fruit featuring baskets filled with locally grown Pluots, White & Yellow Peaches – and plenty of garlic, too, of course. Chef Carlos Pineda from Culinary Academy and Kneaded Bakery at Rebekah Children’s Services in Gilroy won the $3,000 prize. Pineda donated the proceeds to Gilroy Foundation's Jay Minzer and Peter Ciccarelli Memorial Fund that benefits Rebekah's Culinary Academy.

Over near the Vineyard Stage, things were really smoking on Saturday and Sunday during the Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge. On Saturday, head cook Mike Lindley with Smokin’ Mo’s smoked the competition to win Overall Grand Champ and $2,000 in the official Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned competition. Head cook Sterling Ball with Big Poppa Smokers was named Reserve Champ and won a total of $1,000. Peoples’ Choice was awarded to Bar-B-Cuda BBQ and head cook Jason Price. On Sunday, we had a tie for first place between Big Bro BBQ, Head Cook David Arias and MEGA Texas Barbeque, Head Cook Anthony Vallejo. They both claimed ultimate bragging rights among amateur BBQ chefs as winners of the Gilroy Garli-Que Backyard BBQ Rib Throwdown competition.



About the Gilroy Garlic Festival
About the Gilroy Garlic Festival— officially the world’s largest garlic festival!
The 40th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival will be held July 27, 28, and 29, 2018, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California. The annual event draws over a hundred thousand guests from around the world for a three-day celebration of great garlicky food. www.gilroygarlicfestival.com

Media Contact: Katherine Filice
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