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California Garlic Festival moves again


Written by Aja Seldon and Ann Rubin

LOS BANOS, Calif. (FOX-35)- A California summertime classic is relocating again after a rocky few years.

The California Garlic Festival is moving from the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton to the Merced County Fairgrounds in Los Banos.

The three-day festival begins on Aug. 30 through September 1.

The California Garlic Festival was born after the much-loved Gilroy Garlic Festival ceased operations in 2022, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and skyrocketing insurance premiums as the reasons for ending the 42-year-old tradition.

Since then, the California Garlic Festival, which has no affiliation with the Gilroy Garlic Festival organizers, sprouted to fill the void for people who love the fragrant vegetable.

"We just didn't want it to hurt our agricultural community, so we just picked it up and created our own with respect the respect to them and also the outreach to the community," said Danica Noceti of the Noceti Group, which puts on the California Garlic Festival. 

While Gilroy has undoubtedly earned the reputation of the "Garlic Capital of the World," there is still plenty to go around.

The California Garlic Festival is a family-friendly event that will feature live entertainment and a variety of garlic delicacies, such as crispy garlic fries, garlic noodles, and garlic maple brown sugar ice cream to satisfy the sweet tooth.

"It's not going to be as big as the Gilroy Garlic Festival in its first year. But bringing that economic opportunity here to Merced County, I think it could be something really great," said Scott Silveira of the Merced County Board of Supervisors.

The new site in Los Banos is close enough that farmers, vendors and volunteers from Gilroy can participate. 

"We felt it was best to be centrally located between the top producing garlic counties," said Noceti.

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