Published in the July 11 – July 24, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

By Todd Trekell

Todd Trekell

As board president of this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival, I invite you to come join us as we celebrate 40 years of family fun.

Like so many people, I got involved with the Gilroy Garlic Festival at a young age. My first volunteer job was back in 1993 when my mom dragged me into making lemonade to benefit the California Scholarship Federation and Future Business Leaders of America at Gilroy High School. During those years, I also helped sell programs and eventually made my way into Gourmet Alley. There I worked on the personnel committee before becoming an assistant chair in 2012, then co-chair in 2014, and finally a member of the board of directors in 2016.

As a kid, I got to experience first-hand the benefits of all those volunteers who worked at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I played football and baseball for Gilroy High School, and the money raised at the festival helped to pay for new jerseys, equipment, and tournaments. Now I feel it’s my turn. I’m honored to have the chance to give back to the community that has given me so much during the past years.

Photo courtesy Gilroy Garlic Festival

As board president, a very important part of my job is making sure the spotlight stays on all those volunteers who are still in the trenches doing all the hard work to keep raising money for our local schools, charities, and nonprofit groups. They are the true heroes. They are the reason the festival has continued to succeed all these years. Everyone who’s ever worked at the festival should take great pride in the $11.5 million we’ve raised for these worthy organizations.

Now, 40 years is a big milestone for our event — and it’s a testament to the vision of our founding fathers that the festival is still going strong after all these years. That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops to make this the best Gilroy Garlic Festival ever.

We’re incredibly excited to welcome superstar chefs Michael Symon, Brian Boitano, and Shaun O’Neale to the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage this year. After hosting exciting competitions, each of the chefs will also do his own cooking demonstration and Q&A session with the audience. Don’t miss this fantastic chance to see your favorite TV chefs in person.

Entertainment-wise, we’ll have a wide variety of artists all weekend long. KRTY 95.3 will be bringing back “Hot Country Sunday,” with up-and-coming country artists Mitchell Tenpenny, Travis Denning, and Cale Dodds on the Amphitheater Stage. This year, for the first time, we’ll also have the Garlic Clove Dance Tent presented by 99.7 NOW! with live local DJs spinning tracks all weekend long.

Of course, this festival really is all about the food, and its heartbeat comes from my old stomping grounds in Gourmet Alley. Many of the alley’s most popular dishes like calamari, scampi, and pasta con pesto have been on the menu since the very first festival back in 1979. You can also enjoy newer dishes like the delicious Gilroy Garlic Shrimp that debuted last year. Now guests can wash down all that garlicky goodness with soda, beer, wine — or our new signature cocktail, the Garlic Festival Mule.

Forty years is definitely something to celebrate, and this year you’ll find a fun vintage vibe throughout the festival. I’m incredibly proud to serve as president of the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival and hope you’ll join us on July 27, 28 and 29. So come on out to Christmas Hill Park and party like it’s 1979!

Todd Trekell is the president of the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival. He wrote this for Gilroy Life.

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