The festival has raised millions of dollars for South Valley nonprofit organizations and schools.

Morgan Hill Life file photo
Volunteers prepare garlic bread during a past Gilroy Garlic Festival. A scaled-down version of Gourmet Alley will take place for six days over two weekends at Gilroy Presbyterian Church.

By Ken Christopher

Ken Christopher

When it comes to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, there’s truly one essential truth, and that’s that it served as an annual homecoming for all of us in the Gilroy community for more than 40 years. I know I’m personally proud of all the work my grandfather and the other founding members of the festival put in all those years ago.

The legacy of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association continues on to this day, with millions of dollars having been raised for our hometown.

While this year’s festival has been reimagined, it might feel a little bit different than the celebrated events of years past, it’s important to hold on to the fact that it’s serving a special purpose as a caretaker event for something that we all believe in.

The volunteers who serve the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association are truly pillars of selflessness and integrity, and they serve as the model for what Gilroyans can do when they dream big.

Gilroy’s most celebrated crop, garlic, has been enjoyed by millions of attendees over the years. It never ceases to amaze me that wherever I go within these United States, I meet people who have not only heard of, but actually attended our summer festival.

This year, our community has the chance to experience the best of what gourmet alley has to offer. From peppersteak sandwiches, to shrimp scampi and garlic bread, there’s going to be something for everyone. I know when I experience the festival, I’ll continue to be wowed by the flame-ups and the indomitable spirit of all those tireless volunteers. It’s going to be hard to keep the smile off my face as I experience a cherished event that has been so treasured within my family.

As we’re all emerging from the worst elements of the pandemic, I want to assure the community that the Christopher family, through our foundation and the ranch, will always be there to steward our town’s most treasured stinking rose.

As the official garlic of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, for decades past, and decades to come, Christopher Ranch remains the consequential partner that ensures Gilroy’s claim to fame perseveres despite what’s going on in the world. It’s been a challenging couple of years for all of us, from the events of 2019 through to the COVID pandemic, but my family has every faith Gilroyans of all stripes will come together during this exceptional year to power an event that means so much to so many.

My grandfather, Don Christopher, my father, Bill Christopher, and myself, have every faith in the world that we’ll all come together for a more traditional experience next year. But for now we thank our hometown for continuing to champion the spirit of something we’ve all known and loved for generations. And like all of you, I have been, continue to be, and will always be, #GilroyStrong.

Ken Christopher

Ken Christopher is the executive vice president of Christopher Ranch.


Guest Column