Garlic Lovers from Around the World Celebrate 40 Years of Family Fun at the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival

2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 27, 28 and 29, 2018



Garlic Lovers from Around the World Celebrate 40 Years of Family Fun at the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival

August 1, 2018 (Gilroy, CA):  Foodies and families from across the globe congregated in Gilroy this past weekend for the 40th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. The annual celebration of all things garlic included traditional favorites—like the garlicky dishes from Gourmet Alley that have been a staple since the very first Festival back in 1979—as well as successful new introductions like the first-ever signature cocktail, the Garlic Festival Mule, which proved so popular that it sold out over the three-day event.

2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival President Todd Trekell said, “I’m truly honored to have served as President for the Gilroy Garlic Festival’s 40th annual celebration. We had a great, easy-going crowd of garlic lovers enjoying garlicky gourmet food and live music—as well as new experiences like the Electric Clove Dance Tent and the Garlic Festival Mule cocktail. It was a thrill to welcome legends like Iron Chef Michael Symon and Olympic Champion Brian Boitano to join in our celebration. And our new “Herbie” mascot was a huge hit too! I am just incredibly grateful for the dedication of our Association and over 4,000 community volunteers who worked so hard to make this event a tremendous success.”

According to Festival organizers, a total of 80,646 guests attended the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival at Christmas Hill Park on July 27, 28, and 29. Visitors included representatives from Gilroy’s sister city Takko-Machi, Japan, along with several hundred Bay Area residents who rode into town on the Caltrain Garlic Train on Saturday and Sunday.

Competition on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage kicked off on Friday with the Champions for Charity cooking challenge, emceed by MasterChefSeason 7 Winner Shaun O’Neale. Four teams of local first responders competed in three elimination rounds (appetizer, entrée, and dessert) to win $3,000 for their favorite charity. John Campbell and Morgan Sanders from AMR Santa Clara County won the competition for the second year in a row and will be donating their winnings to the Alzheimer’s Association.

In the brand-new Garlic Chef Jr. competition, hosted by O’Neale on Friday afternoon, eight young chefs faced off for the chance to win a notebook computer valued at $500. The top prize winner was Addyson Dell, age 6, who needed a stool to reach the stove but still wowed the judges with her Garlic Mac N Cheese with Crispy Garlic Chicken Tenders and Roasted Asparagus.

On Saturday, Will Simbol from New York, NY claimed the top prize of $5,000 (and the coveted garlic crown) in the Great Garlic Cook-Off. This contest, one of the nation’s most prestigious amateur cooking contests, was hosted by Olympic Champion and Food Network star Brian Boitano. Simbol’s winning dish was Savory Crunchy Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap. Second place was awarded to Lidia Haddadian (from Pasadena, CA) for Roasted Garlic and Potato Pierogis w/Garlic Shallot Bacon Jam, and third place was awarded to Leah Lyon (from Ada, OK) for her A-MAIZ-in Garlic-Chili Buttered Rose' Lobster Tails with Flamenco Pesto.

On Sunday, four professional chefs faced off in the Iron Chef-style “Garlic Showdown,” hosted by Iron Chef and co-host of “The Chew” Michael Symon. Contestants had to prepare two dishes using a mystery basket of ingredients that included dried prunes, fresh prunes, and fresh plums – and plenty of garlic, too, of course. For the second year in a row, Chef Carlos Pineda from the Culinary Academy and Kneaded Bakery at Rebekah's Children's Services in Gilroy won the $3,000 prize and will be donating his winnings directly to the Rebekah’s Children’s Services Culinary Academy.

Over near the Vineyard Stage on Saturday, the Son of Smoke BBQ team smoked the competition to win Overall Grand Champ (and $2,000) in the Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge, an official Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned competition. Big Poppa Smokers was named Reserve Champ and won a total of $1,000. On Sunday, El Mero Mero Taquero with Jorge Avila as the Head Cook won the Gilroy Garli-Que Backyard BBQ Rib Throwdown amateur chef competition.


About the Gilroy Garlic Festival
The 41st annual Gilroy Garlic Festival will be on July 26, 27, and 28, 2019, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California. The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been officially certified by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® as the world’s largest garlic festival and draws thousands of garlic-loving guests from around the globe every year. Presented by Raley’s, Bel Air, and Nob Hill Foods, this three-day celebration features gourmet garlicky food, live entertainment, cooking competitions, and fun for the whole family. For more information, go to


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