Gilroy celebrating with its annual garlic festival

GILROY (KTVU) -- Thousands of people are descending this weekend on the tiny town of Gilroy to celebrate Allium sativum -- or what most people refer to as garlic.

The festival, in its 38th year, is scheduled to fun July 29-31 and at least 100,000 garlic fans are expected to participate in such events as the Garlic Train, Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant and Garlic Showdown while sampling such culinary treats as garlic ice cream and Garli-Que.

Adults will pay $20 for admission and it costs $15 for children. Kids who are 6-years-old and younger are free.  

"If you love food and you love garlic, this is the place" to be, said pyro chef Steve Janisch. "It doesn't get any better than this."

The garlic calamari and garlic chicken are popular sellers but there is an endless variety of garlic infused dishes, including garlic stuffed mushrooms, garlic pasta and garlic fries. 

Said Kirsten Carr, spokeswoman for the festival: "You can get your crawdad, calamari, gator and kettle corn. If it's garlic we have it."

Organizers said at least two tons of garlic will be consumed during the three-day festival, which is staffed by volunteers with proceeds from the event slated for local charities. In addition to garlic dishes, the festival includes an arts-and-crafts fair, live music and entertainment on three different stages.

"You can either do dance music, jazz or (attend) childrens" events, Carr said.

 Laurie Souza, who lives in Sacramento, said she enjoys going to the festival. 

"I have a blast and I love to support the festival every year," Souza said. 

KTVU reporter Janine De la Vega contributed to this report.

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