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Garlic Festival tips?

Costa Mesa...
Level Contributor
815 posts
88 reviews
Garlic Festival tips?

An old friend and I are thinking of attempting the Gilroy Garlic Festival next summer. Obviously I'm keeping an eye on the festival website (http://gilroygarlicfestival.com/). Anyone been? The current thought is to drive from So Cal during the daytime on Friday, stay 2 nights as close as we can and walk to/from the event, then head home on Sunday.

The closest hotels look like Leavesley near the fwy (Quality Inn or Ramada) or Monterey exit (Hilton Garden Inn - all booked up or Motel 6). Neither of these locations is less than a mile, but I suspect parking might be an issue so we'll probably travel on foot to/from the event. I assume the area is safe enough, and that when it gets closer there might even be shuttles offered???

Would love your tips to make this trip a success. My packing list will probably include hiking (wicking) clothes and a camelback for water...

11 replies to this topic
San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
18,037 posts
120 reviews
1. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

Parking isnt a problem - theres plenty of it, but there will be traffic going to the event, then you take shuttles from the parking to the festival. but if you are good walkers, you can walk. I havent actually done it, but you can map the route and see if its a distance you are comfortable with.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
24,107 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

Agree with November. It's safe to walk as long as you stay out of traffic. Some of the roads do not have shoulders. It can be very hot so definitely a hydration pack will be good. On busy days, traffic can be bumper to bumper so you might be walking faster than the cars trying to get to the shuttle area.

Costa Mesa...
Level Contributor
815 posts
88 reviews
3. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

Thank you both! Do you think we'll find the festival worth attending for 2 days, or is 1 enough for most guests?

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
Level Contributor
33,492 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

One is enough for me.....although I do enjoy it, it is very crowded, and usually very hot, and how much garlic infused food can you eat? :~)

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
18,037 posts
120 reviews
5. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

Just 1 day is plenty.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
24,107 posts
25 reviews
6. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

One day is fine. The entertainment area is a good place to hang out.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
32,841 posts
6,430 reviews
7. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

You might also just want to stay closer to Gilroy Premium Outlet area and drive the short drive to the Garlic Festival. Yes, there is traffic, but is not that far from there and would give you something to do after the festival.

There are also a number of wineries, etc.

gilroywelcomecenter.org/foodandwine/wineries…

The traffic is worse as people drive in from either San Jose or Monterey area. So if you decide to stay at another part of Gilroy, I would just plan on being there when it opened or shortly before.

If you can get up early on Friday, you might even want to go once you get here as Friday is less busy but still fun than Saturday or Sunday.

Costa Mesa...
Level Contributor
815 posts
88 reviews
8. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

Thank you!

Costa Mesa...
Level Contributor
815 posts
88 reviews
9. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

We did it – we made the trek to the Gilroy Garlic Festival. It was fun, and I’m glad we did, but driving 350 miles each way (there on Friday and home on Sunday) was a major commitment. We stayed 2 nights at the Quality Inn on Murray. It was just what we expected – no frills, but clean, full breakfast, & decent service.

We attended Friday & Saturday. Parked in the official parking lot, and took the shuttle in. Parking was plentiful in a rough-graded dirt lot. My friend was happy that we were in my Subaru rather than her Prius. Parking was $10, but you got a $1 discount on Gourmet Alley.

We paid $20 to get in at around 1pm, and immediately went for lunch. They’re VERY efficient with food in Gourmet Alley – each choice (for example: garlic fries, garlic bread) had its own set of two windows – 1 to pay & 1 to pick-up. So you have to wait in 2 lines if you want a sandwich and fries, but the lines move fast because the staff just hands out a quantity of the same dish.

Seating was shaded and plentiful as far as we were around. We never got our free garlic ice cream because the line was ridiculously long. Instead, we paid $5.50 for garlic ice cream without waiting in line.

Watched a fundraiser cooking competition (fire departments for charity). Did some local wine tasting. Sat & listened to bands. Watched the pyro chefs. And ate lots of garlic.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,706 posts
52 reviews
10. Re: Garlic Festival tips?

It's over for this year, but just so people know, another lodging option is Casa de Fruta, on Hwy 152 about 14 miles from the festival site. Their room rates go up for that period, but the shuttle runs there and Casa de Fruta is a fun place with all services and scads of things to do (reviews are on the Hollister forum).

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