And how could we forget some of the funnier times when Judy Bozzo , Gloria and Frank Caliri were steam cleaning pots and pans into the late hours and Frank was lost in the steam . Then there was the time 2001 Volunteer of the Year and certified fork lift trainer Erwin
Boggs , lifted a porta-pottie only to discover that someone was in it . When Past President , Ed Struzik was utility chair , he fished a very fashionable pair of sunglasses out of a porta-pottie to the delight of the owner .
In Garlic Festival 3 , Grandpa Solano ( Val Filice ’ s father-in-law ) set up his homemade table saw to cut 1500 pounds of calamari . When that saw decided to quit , Michael Bonfante saved the day by allowing us to use the saw in the meat department when Nob Hill was on Westwood Drive . He simply gave us the keys to the store and told us to lock up when we left . Patty and Dave
Sebald spent many years in the upper parking area . My cooking buddy , Gene , remembers Patty ’ s hat caked in dirt . Dave recalls one year when a person missed their ride and GOOD GUY Dave delivered that person back to their home in Oakland . What dedication !
Did you ever wonder how Gourmet Alley got its name ?
Tim Filice , Garlic Festival President # 4 , recalls when the first festival was forming , that Rudy Melone said that the food booth applications coming in were for hot dogs and hamburgers . Tim said that he would talk to Val Filice . Val said he wouldn ’ t attend meetings but he would cook . Tim reported back to Rudy that Val would cook Calamari , and
Pepper Steak Sandwiches . Rudy named that area Gourmet Alley . Subsequently , Paul Pellicione would cook Pasta Con Pesto , and kept his recipe in the safe at the Elks Club . Jimmy and Ebe Rubino added stuffed and marinated mushrooms to support their son and band director , Mike Rubino , of the Emerald Regime Marching Band from Live Oak High School . Louis Trinchero took over the Pepper Steak Sandwiches when Val added Scampi to the menu and Leo Goforth made the garlic bread .
When the first Garlic Festival cookbook was being created , the recipes that had been sent in from all parts of the country were field tested by many people in Gilroy .
The first and only night activity was held the first year and was chaired by Bob Dyer , who had experience with the Pendleton Roundup in Oregon . The entertainment that night was a Country Western band followed by an Elvis impersonator . Bob also thought that we should have a tractor pull but was voted down .
To this day Gloria Melone ( Rudy ’ s wife ) still demonstrates cooking with garlic along with her sons , Phillip , John , and Michael on the cook-off stage . Her grandson , Marcus , runs the Escargot booth . Bill Hart works in Gourmet Alley to maintain the water supply . Bill was part of the team of engineers responsible for bringing the water line from San Luis Dam to the Santa Clara Valley . ( He will remind you it was under budget ). Bill and Ruby Hart and the members of the Lions Club were responsible for the cleaning and deveining of the scampi . Who can forget his trusty little knife ?
Eventually the shrimp operation became so large it had to be mechanized . In 1987 , Carl Swank and Tony Gaffney used an old 60-gallon steam cooker to prepare pasta sauce and pasta for the volunteers .
If there wasn ’ t ever a Garlic Festival there would never be “ SakaBozzo – Twins Separated At Birth .” The 19 years working with Gene Sakahara have been a joy . These are some of my memories of the Garlic Festival — stories about volunteers who worked together to raise over eight million dollars for our community .
Everyone has memories , some funny and some poignant about their times at the festival .
How about your memories ? Share them with us by going to the Gilroy Today page on Facebook . You can even “ like ” the magazine and receive updates on future issues . Or just email jchris @ gilroytoday . com . Share your memories with the community .
Sam Bozzo is a past president of the Gilroy Garlic Festival and demonstration chef . He cooks with Gene Sakahara and together they are known as the “ SakaBozzo ” twins — separated at birth . Sam co-authored the cookbook “ Any Bozzo Can Cook ” with Gene . He is adjunct faculty for Chapman University and a retired Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Monterey County Office of Education . He has been married to his wife , Judy , for 47 years . They have two sons and three grandchildren who also live in Gilroy .