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The biggest celebration of garlic in the world, this annual Californian festival draws tens of thousands of people from around the world. It has been running for 39 years and there’s a big focus on charity, with the event raising millions of dollars for local schools and non-profits over the years.

Food is a highlight and the festival uses more than two tonnes of the pungent bulb to cook up an epic feast. Gourmet Alley is the heart of the festival and chefs will be cooking up all sorts of garlicky delights, like seafood, pasta, stuffed mushrooms and all kinds of garlic bread. Vendors will also be selling more interesting options, like garlic ice cream or popcorn infused with garlic. Much of the cooking takes place outdoors in the impressive ‘pyro kitchen’, with chefs utilising huge flames.

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Over the festival’s three days there’s also live entertainment, arts and crafts, cooking competitions and more. Keep an eye out for Miss Gilroy Garlic, the festival’s beauty queen, who is chosen in a pageant in May. The 2017 queen is Maggie Pickford and she will be on hand (crown and all) during the festival to judge competitions and host events.

 

Where is it?

The festival is held in the town of Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World. Gilroy is in Santa Clara County in California, a region just south of San Francisco. Guests can even catch a special Garlic Train from nearby San Jose station to reach the event.

When is it?

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is held over the last weekend of July.

How much is it?

Tickets are priced at $20 for adults and $15 for seniors.

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