Tips for a firstimer--Gilroy Garlic Festival
Avoid the Garlic Festival ... just kidding, sort of.
I guess it's one of those things you gotta do once and see for yourself. If you like fairs and carnivals, you will like this.
Here's a positive food post from last year about the food.
Seriously though ... get there EARLY. If you have to get up at dawn and drive down ... get there at opening. You'll avoid the traffic and the worst heat.
I've been twice. Once in the early years where it was charming and small. You could drive right up to the festival and park and walk.
The second time was a few years ago where it has expanded immensely. There are acres of parking and there are buses that take you from the parking lot to the festival.
I hope you'll report back and let us know what you had to eat and how you liked it.
I went once years ago and had a good time. I was glad I went, though I haven't felt compelled to go again. A good attitude helps immensely. Yes, it will be crowded, so try to enjoy the crowd, the idea of all these people getting together to celebrate garlic. Wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Bring water (I think they let you carry your own water bottles). Split up and stand in different lines for food then get back together to share. Get there as early as you can, then leave early (3-4 hrs is plenty of time to spend there).
And stop at Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill on your way back for some awesome fruit!
here's an old post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/25118#99826
From my past experience go early, it's $12 entrance fee, gotta get on a bus, like any festival you've ever been, expensive food, not very garlicky either.
more reports w/ my pics: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
re: Ruth Lafler
avoid the entire spectacle. what chow there is to be had is not worth dealing with all the negatives for.
endless crowds, very hot weather (though weather.com only pegs it in the mid-80s this weekend), and seriously horrendous traffic.
my friend got dragged there last year, and it took well over three hours to get back to sf from gilroy. and that's after standing in 90+ degree heat in a throng of people all day and the hike back to the parking area. and she wasn't terribly impressed with the food either, just a few "interesting" things here and there.