Welcome to the Gilroy Garlic Festival!
A Message from 2019 President Shawn Keck
Having grown up in Gilroy, I got started volunteering at the Gilroy Garlic Festival as a freshman in high school, picking up garbage and driving the “trash tractor” with my teammates to raise funds for the GHS wrestling program. In later years, I volunteered for South Valley Civic Theatre selling tickets. In 2000, I was roped in by longtime friend (and now Past President) Kirsten Carr to serve on the Entertainment Committee and then as Entertainment Committee Chair. Like so many fellow volunteers, I got hooked—and went on to serve on the Utilities and Signs committees, then the Board of Directors, and now am proud to be the 2019 President.
What keeps me coming back every year are the amazing, dedicated people we work with to make it all happen. Together, we basically get to build Disneyland in a week—then tear it down. It’s an amazing thing to be part of. Everyone is out there working for the same reasons: to raise money for the local community and throw a party for nearly 100,000 people!
There are a lot of things to look forward to at this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival, but I personally am most excited about the special Saturday evening concert featuring Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat and her new band, Gone West. The concert will start at 6:00 pm and is included with Festival admission. (Insider tip: seating at the Amphitheater will be limited and there is no seat-saving allowed, so plan to get there early!) In a big change for the Festival, we’ve decided to keep park open until 8:00 pm on Saturday night only so that guests can enjoy the show, get some dinner from Gourmet Alley, and just relax and soak up the warm summer evening vibe. I can’t wait!
Sunday will also a big day on the Amphitheater Stage, as the Festival celebrates 15 years of partnering with KRTY Hot Country 95.3 to present exciting live performances by up-and-coming country artists. Past acts that have gone on to big country careers have included Rascal Flatts, Kip Moore, Michael Ray, Dustin Lynch, and many more. This year, don’t miss King Calaway, Waterloo Revival, and Caylee Hammack performing live on “Hot Country Sunday”!
Meanwhile, things will be sizzling over on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage, as we welcome Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio, who will host the Great Garlic Cook-Off on Saturday and then do his own cooking demonstration. On Friday, MasterChef Season 9 winner Gerron Hurt will preside over both the Garlic Chef Jr. and Champions for Charity cooking competitions. And on Sunday, our own local culinary superstar Alexander La Motte, the Executive Chef at Rosewood CordeValle Resort, will serve as emcee for the Iron Chef-style Garlic Showdown.
Even professional chefs marvel at the delicious food that comes out of Gourmet Alley, and this year you’ll be able to order up your scampi, calamari, pasta con pesto, pepper steak sandwiches, and other favorite dishes all from one window. We’re hoping this streamlined experience (available on the Ranch Side of Gourmet Alley only) will enhance the visitor experience and generate more revenue to share with community non-profit groups.
Every year we have more than 4,000 volunteers who work incredibly hard to earn money for their school sports teams, church groups, and other charities. Since the Festival was founded in 1979, we’ve donated over $11.7 million to these worthy non-profit organizations. We need to keep the Festival going strong so we can continue to support all of the community groups that count on us as their biggest fundraiser of the year.
New for this year: Be sure to pick up discounted ticket bundles in advance at all South Bay Costco locations.
So don’t miss out on the excitement! Come to the Gilroy Garlic Festival and bring your friends and family to experience the world’s greatest summer food festival. I look forward to seeing everyone out at the Festival on July 26, 27 and 28!