GILROY, Calif. (KRON/KSEE/KGPE) — The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been around for 42 years, so this is going to be a shock to many. Festival organizers say they are not moving forward with the event for the foreseeable future, paving the way for Fresno’s own National Garlic Festival to become the premiere garlic festival in California
The Gilroy festival’s board of directors announced this citing lingering issues from the COVID-19 pandemic along with prohibitive insurance requirements by the city of Gilroy. The world-famous garlic festival has become a part of Gilroy’s heritage since the 1970s.
Thousands of people travel from all over to experience various dishes with garlic in them and see famous chefs cook them up, and the event has raised millions of dollars for local charities.
The board says the garlic festival will never be the massive event it has been in the past. Instead, it could one day be a more intimate local festival allowing the community to celebrate still but all of that is unknown.
People who go every year will surely be disappointed and sad to hear this, especially after all the festival has survived. In 2019, a mass shooting happened at the festival killing three people and injuring 17 others. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and last year it was a drive-thru event.
The festival board says it’s disappointed and hopes to bring this garlic festival back in some capacity someday, but not this year.
In February it was announced that Fresno would be holding a garlic festival and proclaiming the city the “Garlic Capital of the US.” Officials say that since Fresno County produces the most garlic in the state, it has technically been the garlic capital for some time now.
“Most people don’t realize that Fresno County is the true garlic capital of the United States, and has been for a very long time,” said Peter DeYoung, CEO of the Fresno-based National Food Festivals, Inc.
The national event will be held at the Fresno Fairgrounds from May 13 to 15 and take place from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day except for Sunday when doors close at 9:00 p.m.