gmhTODAY 20 gmhToday June July 2018 - Page 71

T he fi rst Garlic Festival in 1979, was held on August 3-4 and was the only Festival that was not at Christmas Hill Park. The fi rst location was Bloomfi eld Ranch, west of the on-ramp to Highway 25 from 101 South. The Beginning Food items in Gourmet Alley were calamari, scampi, pasta con pesto, broiled garlic mushrooms, garlic pepper steak sandwich and garlic bread. The Jaycees took care of parking and a variety of community groups set up booths to sell food and garlic-related items. One of the event highlights was a tethered hot air balloon ride. However, erratic winds cut this short. There was entertainment and a children’s area on site, and a “big event” off-site Saturday night concert at the high school featuring Larry Hosford, a popular bluegrass/country group and Johnny Rusk, an Elvis impersonator. The Kiwanis Club hosted a breakfast. The Great Garlic Gallop (10,000 meter race) finished at the back of the grounds so the runners could go directly into the Festival. The first recipe contest was held at Gavilan College but the winners were introduced on the Festival stage. Mimeographed copies of the winning recipes were passed out at the Festival grounds. Those who worked or attended the first Festival remember an extraordinary energy. The organizers expected, at the most, 5,000 visitors but 15,000 showed up! Parking was an issue and they ran out of many food items in Gourmet Alley. People were sent to supermarkets in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister to purchase all the butter, shrimp, calamari, bread, etc. they Founders of the Festival: Don Christopher, Val Filice and Dr. Rudy Malone could find. There was not enough water, restrooms, or space in general, but people had fun. That first Festival represented a rough start for an event that now is In 1978, Dr. Rudy Malone, President of Gavilan Community College; Don Christopher, the owner of Christopher Ranch and recent founder of the Fresh Garlic Association; and Val Filice, a local farmer and chef found themselves willing participants in an event that would defi ne their relationship for the rest of their lives. known all over the world and has definitely put Gilroy on the map. The initial contribution of $15,000 to the community has grown to $11.5 million. It is not a stretch to connect the sense of community and identity that visitors see today to the great town party known of as the Gilroy Garlic Festival, that was developed so long ago. The steering committee that made that first festival become a reality Dr. Malone came up with the original idea, Christopher had the product that was becoming Gilroy's main crop and Filice had the culinary expertise—together they led a relatively small group of community enthusiasts in the develop- ment of a community event that would become world-renowned and a source of pride for the community of Gilroy. included founders Dr. Rudy Malone, Don Christopher, Val Vilice and the following: Lynda Trelut, Tim Filice, Bill Ayer, Norie Goforth, J. Chris Mickartz, Carl Swank, Hy Miller, Bill Christopehr, Bob Dyer, Joseph Filice, Rose Emma Pellicone, and David Sorenson. The first board of directors (1980) consisted of Dr. Rudy Malone (president), Don Christopher (vice-president), Lynda Trelut (secretary), Joe Filice (treasurer), Hy Miller and Dave Sorenson (directors). GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JUNE/JULY 2018 71