Zee loves to taste ingredients whenever I make dinner, begging for whatever I’m chopping up on the cutting board. The first time my 17-month-old asked for a piece of raw garlic, I was sure she would reject it as soon as she had a taste. I was wrong. Instead, she wanted a whole clove to herself, which she daintily took bites out of.
Zee can join other garlic lovers at the Gilroy Garlic Festival this weekend, July 23-25. The stinky fest offers pungent food fun — including garlic ice-cream — along with music, games, crafts and a cook-off . There is a children’s area with mini-rides, a family-friendly stage, arts & crafts and more. Ravioli the Clown will be there, along with the Three Little Pigs Puppet Company. If you take the family for the day, be sure to dress in layers (mornings are foggy now, and afternoons sunny), wear comfy shoes and don’t forget sunscreen.
If garlic is not to your child’s taste, the next weekend (July 31-August 1) offers the Strawberry Festival at Monterey Bay. This sweet fest, held in Watsonville, is a slightly smaller affair than the Gilroy extravaganza, with a home-town feeling of fun. Music on the main stage ranges from mariachi to funky grooves. There will be strawberry pie-eating contests, for anyone tempted to gorge on berry-based treats. Carnival rides and people dressed as strawberries make for a berry-good time.
This duo of festivals kick off the festival season in the Monterey Bay. Other upcoming fests to be aware of: Cabrillo Festival of Music (August 1-15), Aloha Races & Polynesian Festival (August 15), Musical Saw Festival (August 15).
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Gilroy Garlic Festival
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 23-25
WHERE: Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. The city is 30 miles south of San Jose off Highway 101
COST: $17 general, $8 seniors and children (ages 6-12), Free for children under age 6
AGE RANGE: All ages
MORE INFORMATION: www.gilroygarlicfestival.com
WHAT:Strawberry Festival at Monterey Bay
WHEN: 10 am. to 7 p.m. July 31 & August 1
WHERE: Historic downtown Watsonville around the City Plaza on Main, Peck and Union Streets
AGE RANGE: All ages
MORE INFORMATION: www.mbsf.com
Image courtesy of Gilroy Garlic Festival.