The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, that celebrates the locally grown and world-renowned garlic crops and is at its 42-th edition will be indefinitely canceled, festival organizers said, motivating that the pandemic and the skyrocketing insurance premiums determined this decision. The board of directors expressed their disappointment on the decision, especially after decades of drawing massive crowds to the small Santa Clara County town to watch cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, listen to live music, shop at vendor booths and eat garlic based foods. The plan now is to change the format of the festival. “We’re looking at reimagining what it is. And we want people who want to be part of that comeback story to come along with us,” organizers said. The Garlic Festival Association plans to hold a series of smaller, more intimate events to replace the huge festival which was known to draw thousands. This will begin in June with a golf tournament that will include lunch and dinner. A farm-to-table dinner is also planned for later this year. After posting losses for a decade, the festival became financially unsustainable, organizers said.
“The City of Gilroy does require a minimum general liability coverage level of $1 million for any events occurring in city parks, on city streets, on city sidewalks, in city parking lots, in city buildings, or taking place in any city facility,” the board said in a statement. „“But they are requiring much more from the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association,” they added. In fact, the city is now requiring the group to have multimillion-dollar liability coverage, according to Tom Cline, past president of the group. The event was Gilroy’s biggest charitable fundraiser, having garnered more than $12 million over the years for schools and local nonprofits. Gilroy, California, a city of nearly 60,000 residents, is centrally located at the southern gateway to Silicon Valley and proud to be “A Community with a Spice for Life.” It gained fame as the “Garlic Capital of the World.” Gilroy’s Mediterranean climate strikes a pleasant balance that has proven to be perfect for agriculture and recreation.