Do you love Garlic? Check out the Gilroy Garlic Festival

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Gilroy Garlic Festival
Garlic Ice Cream, who knew?

As we head into the summer months, it seems as if there is a festival for almost anything. From music to food to wine, it’s as if everyone wants to celebrate everything under the warm summer sun.

There are some things, though, that most people would never consider celebrating. Whether it’s because the taste is too strong or you fear it might burn your skin (vampires and werewolves beware), not everyone is a big fan of garlic.

But in Gilroy, CA, as the Garlic Capital of the World, they cannot help but celebrate the “stinking rose” with their annual three-day festival. Cooking with over 2 tons of local Christopher Ranch garlic (the largest shipper of garlic in the world), this festival is the ultimate destination for any and all garlic enthusiasts.

What’s the Gilroy Garlic Festival?

The main thoroughfare of the festival, known as “Gourmet Alley,” reeks wonderfully of the honorary herb, as tons of vendors from all over the area cook up their best garlic dishes. There’s even garlic ice cream for dessert! If you don’t like garlic (blasphemy!), you can still find a few dishes that are conveniently garlic-free, though it will be next to impossible to escape the pungent scent of this age-old herb. Check out this full list of vendors and meal options.

There are tons of contests and demos for you to improve your own cooking skills. The Garlic Cook-Off is one of the best-known cooking contests in the country. Chefs, both professional and amateur, from across the US and Canada start submitting their recipes in December for the chance to make their dish at the festival and win the garlic crown and cash prize. Other contests featured at the festival include “So You Think You Can Cook With Garlic?” and the Master Chef Challenge. If you can’t take the heat of those challenges, stop by the celebrity and local chef demonstrations, so you can still enjoy exciting garlic recipes even after the festival ends.

Running from July 27th-29th, this festival is the perfect time to make a weekend trip to Central California. Gilroy is within half an hour of San Jose and an hour and a half from San Francisco, so there is plenty of time to visit the festival and then head up to these big cities to see some other great California sights.

For more information or to purchase your tickets to the festival, visit the official Gilroy Garlic Festival website. And don’t forget to call The BusBank to help plan the transportation or get you great  hotel rates you’ll need to get there, stay and enjoy a garlicky-good weekend in Gilroy, CA.