If there were ever a food festival where you don’t have to worry about getting attacked by vampires, it’s the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which has been going strong in Gilroy, California since 1979. Describing itself as the “world's greatest summer food festival,” this three-day event has a whole lot to offer even if you’re not a massive garlic fan: along with delicious anti-Dracula treats, visitors also get to enjoy arts, craft vendors, and live entertainment.
Of course, chances are if you’re reading this guide, you are into garlic, post-meal breath be darned. And luckily for you, if you attend, you’ll have the chance to sample an incredible range of pungent favorites -- including a plate of garlic fries that are no-joke world famous. You’ll also get to watch the goods get made in real time when you attend one of the event’s cooking competitions, not to mention watching the coronation of the Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen.
As mentioned above, this food festival is about way more than food -- though there’s certainly plenty of that to be had. Along with a dish of famous Gilroy garlic fries, make sure you take time to meander down Gourmet Alley, where you’ll find garlicky versions of the following fan favorites:
Gilroy Presbyterian Church
6000 Miller Ave.
Gilroy, CA 95020
Unfortunately, on-site RV camping is no longer offered at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, as the land that once hosted campers has been selected for urban development.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring an RV to the festival -- whether it’s a rig of your own or an RVshare rental! An RV is the perfect way to combine the freedom and flexibility of a road trip with the private comfort of a bed and breakfast. (And let’s face it: even the nicest hotel bed pales in comparison to your own cozy set of sheets.)
If you do plan on RVing to the festival, there are lots of camping options in the direct vicinity. Here are a few to choose from -- but by no means an exhaustive list!
There are many other campgrounds to choose from in the nearby Monterey Bay area, as well as Henry W. Coe State Park, which welcomes motorhomes and travel trailers up to 22 and 20 feet in length, respectively.
If you’re not camping this time around, there are still plenty of amazing places to stay in Gilroy, from fancy hotels to quaint inns offering a cozier experience. For full details on accommodations in Gilroy and the surrounding neighborhoods, check out the Gilroy travel bureau’s website -- but for now, here are a few appealing options.
Finding your way to Gilroy isn’t too difficult, no matter which direction you’re coming from. The town is conveniently nestled along California’s popular (and scenic!) Highway 101. It’s only a short drive from San Francisco and the bay area, and an even more manageable distance from Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay -- which are both areas ripe for RV camping and exploration anyway.
However, the festival organizers recommend against relying on your GPS to get you to the festival grounds. For full details on driving directions from a variety of orientations, check out the event’s official website, which also includes up-to-date information on the Garlic Train, another option for finding your way to the venue.
Vehicles must park at the designated lots indicated by signage and attendants. The organizers ask that you follow the signs and directions from volunteers closely.
The festival will operate between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Gates close at 6 p.m., and the parking lots open at 9 each morning.
Ticket prices vary. Click here to find the best deal for you. Tickets include festival admission, shuttle transportation, three stages of musical entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and children’s area performances. Food is not included, and prices range from $2 to $15 depending on the vendor and specific item. For up-to-date detail on ticket pricing, including VIP packages and corporate discounts, click here.
Here at RVshare, we’re not shy about adding extra garlic -- and we definitely want to taste those famous fries vicariously through you! So whether you show up to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in an RVshare rental or take some other mode of transportation, be sure to tag us in your social media posts -- or send pictures of your delicious adventures to us directly at [email protected]. We’ll feature some of our favorite travel tales on our own social media channels and blog, so keep your eyes peeled. (And keep your garlic peeled, too!)
Check out @GarlicFestival on Facebook, @GilroyGarlicFes on Twitter, and @GilroyGarlicFestival on Instagram for event updates!
Please note, this is not the official source of the event information. While we try to be as comprehensive as possible, some details may have changed since the time this article was written. Please confirm final details with the official event page.