Attractions & Entertainment Travel

2013 Gilroy Garlic Festival

garlic fries: gilroy garlic festival

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the 2013 Gilroy Garlic Festival. Being a lover of garlic, I have always wanted to go to the festival, but it just never happened. I live about 3 hours away from Gilroy so I don’t get down there often. When I do, I like to make a stop by the awesome Premium Outlets and of course, the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. Luckily the timing was right this year so I was able to catch the garlic festival. I have a local Peach Festival where I live but it has nothing on the Garlic Festival. This thing is quite big, exciting, and of course – you can get just about any combination of foods with garlic. Mmmm!
calamari and shrimp: gilroy garlic festival
You will want to grab a schedule when you arrive at the festival, so you can be sure not to miss the Garlic Cooking Contests. They sure are exciting to watch! Just watching these two men cook up garlic calamari & shrimp was a load of fun! They sure knew how to make the seafood sizzle and pop! The kids loved watching the skillets go up in huge flames, and they have security fences as well to keep the public at a safe distance.

Garlic Bread: Gilroy Garlic Festival
Near where the calamari and shrimp is prepared, you will find these lovely ladies working away on preparing some of the tastiest garlic bread I have ever had! I had no idea it could be THIS good!

Garlic Grater: Gilroy Garlic Festival

Among many vendors and booths, my mom and I came across the Garlic Grater. I am all for finding easier and better ways to prepare garlic for dishes. The Garlic Grater is kind of pricey, but you will get a tube that you roll the garlic in, for easy peel removal. Then the cute little dishes allow you to easily grate the garlic into a very creamy paste. My mom just had to purchase a set! I’m excited to try the creamy garlic in a salad dressing or pasta sauce.
Jack & Jill Caramel Apple and Garlic Pineapple Upside-Down Waffle: Gilroy Garlic Festival
Now hold onto your seats! Have you ever thought to combine garlic with pineapple, plus waffles? Whoa Nellie! I came across one of the tastiest booths by The Golden Apple, and they were kind enough to let me try their famous Garlic Pineapple Upside-Down Waffle and their Jack & Jill Caramel Apple. This caramel apple is different than others because for one, it comes pre-sliced up (perfect for my kids), topped with delicious caramel, whipped cream, chocolate chips, m&ms, and chocolate syrup. Can I just say YUM? The kids gobbled it right up. Now for the really unique treat – the Garlic Pineapple Upside-Down Waffle. This is a belgian waffle drizzled with a caramel-like sauce and piled with pineapple and garlic and whipped cream. The flavors go so well together! If you stop by the festival, you have to stop by The Golden Apple and give this bad boy a try!

garlic ice cream: gilroy garlic festival
If you don’t have much money to spend then don’t fear because you can still stop by the FREE Garlic Ice Cream Booth for a taste of garlic ice cream on a kiddie-sized cone. I was a little nervous before tasting it, but it will really surprise you!

Coming soon will be a review of some super tasty garlic jelly and garlic dude dust from Rapazzini’s Garlic Shoppe. Stop by their booth for some yummy samples!

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2013: Money Earned to Date, for Charities
Many of the booths and vendors set up at the Gilroy Garlic Festival are those trying to raise money for a charity, cause, or organization. Each year, this flaming garlic is placed near the entrance, and it shares the total $$ earned over the years. Kind of a neat thing to behold and share.

Let’s not forget the entertainment! There are live bands and performances and much more!

Some things you need to keep in mind when visiting the Gilroy Garlic Festival:

  • Take CASH, as not all vendors accept credit/debit 
  • Take WATER – there is water for purchase but it’s $3 per bottle (ouch!)
  • Go HUNGRY because you have to try the amazing food
  • There is a children’s area, but most everything takes tickets, which takes money – so be prepared. There are also some awesome craft booths that I would have loved to take part in had I had the time and money


About the author

Emily Buys


  • Hi, my husband and I have always wanted to go to the festival and it just never seems like the right timing. We are always headed there the week before or two weeks later or something will get in the way! lol We live in Lodi and my in laws live in Carmel, so we drive thru there regularly too. We did go to the peach festival in Marysville a couple years ago, the pies were amazing!! And we’ve been to the artichoke festival in Castrovillle which was great as well. If picked we will be sure to get some garlic fries and some sweet treats for my girls too! Thanks

  • We have always wanted to go and would love to go tomorrow! The Golden Apple looks delicious!! 🙂

  • Glad I got to go with ya! It was tons of fun with lots of tasty treats. I could have keep eating, if we’d had the time. And yes, take your own water and plenty of cash. The garlic fries were sooooo good.

  • OMG I have always wanted to go to the Garlic festival , I would start with the calamari and end with the waffles probably have to try everything in between too !!

  • I have wanted to go since I moved to Cali a decade ago, but have never made it – this would be awesome!

  • We just happened to be in Gilroy one year the day before the Garlic Festival opened. We extended our trip, and went to the festival. It was totally cray-cray!!

  • Never heard of this festival! If I lived closer, I would so be there! I love Garlic! Sounds sooooo yummy!

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