Garlic Festival Wrap-Up: Attendance Down 9,000 From Last Year

The Gilroy Garlic Festival raised almost $2 million in revenue that will go toward several community organizations.

The 34th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival drew approximately 100,204 people to Christmas Hill Park over the course of the three-day event, down from last year's attendance of 109,067, according to festival spokesperson Peter Ciccarelli.

The festival brought in more than $1.9 million in revenue, some of which will be dispersed out to several local nonprofit organizations.

Festival President Hugh Davis said overall the festival was a huge success and that the 4,000-plus volunteers who came out to lend a hand played a pivotal role in making the event a hit.

"Our community of 4,000 volunteers came together for a 34-year tradition as the Bay Area's premier summertime destination," he said "People came, they ate, listened to live music and ate some more. Our volunteers did a great job of getting the food out in time without the lines filling up."

As far as competitions went, Jason Gronlund of the Hard Rock Cafe is this year's Garlic Showdown Champion, winning with his beef tenderloin on a seasoned lavosh dish.

Laureen Pittman of Riverside won the Great Garlic Cook-Off Saturday with her pork belly with caramelized onion and fig agridulce and creamy polenta dish. 

Peter Carter of Los Gatos came away as the winner of the "So You Think You Can Cook?" challenge with his corn on the cob in garlic butter and lemon sauce.

There were several additions to the festival this year, including a kids area with fun games and rides, as well as added shade to the Vineyard Stage for festival attendees.

"I'm very happy with the teen zone," Davis said. "We took a big risk with it, and it turned out to be a success. The bands on the Vineyard Stage had audiences all day, I saw more people at that stage this weekend than I have in 10 years."

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