Parking at the festival is free. Upon entering the festival site, you'll see the sign below. Walk down the trails (but stay on the trails...this is poison oak country) to the ticket booths where you can purchase an adult ticket for $12.
The first booth that caught our eye was one offering fried calamari ($7). Unfortunately, we both were famished and snarfed down the calamari before I managed to take a picture. The calamari was not overly-breaded and not to garlicky. It was the perfectway to ease into the festival. Next up, we stopped by a booth with the beer-battered garlic fries ($5) below. Notice the bits of garlic flecked across the fries. Yup, with one bite, we knew we were smack dab in garlic country. (Actually we realized that about 5 miles before entering Gilroy...you can literally smell the garlic in the air.)
The festival features all things garlic. There's a famous garlic cook-off that you might have seen on the Food Network. There's a Miss Gilroy Garlic pageant. There booth after booth with your typical fair/festival food with some adapting their menus to include more garlic-flavored offerings. There's also an "arts and crafts" area selling....well, arts and crafts.
Some are related to garlic...like this garlic man below.
But back to the food. Below is the funnel cake that we partook of. Notice that this is not your typical funnel cake. It's layered with Bavarian cream, whipped cream, and chocolate ($6.50) .
And you can't go to the Gilroy Garlic Festival without sampling the garlic ice cream (free at the ConAgra booth). After all the garlic we had ingested, it tasted more like vanilla ice cream with a bit of a bite.
I'm not sure that this is a festival I would attend annually. But I definitely recommend that everyone try out this celebration of all things garlic at least once!