A bitter battle looks to be underway over the future of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and now has the current organizers and the man who wants to take it over lobbing heated accusations back and forth. As Hoodline reported last month, the Gilroy Garlic Festival board decided not to move ahead with a festival for 2022 and the foreseeable future because of several issues that were primarily financial — like rising security costs, and higher insurance premiums. After hearing that news, the Noceti Group, which manages the San Joaquin Asparagus Festival, posted on Facebook that they would be taking the festival over by possibly moving it to Stockton.
“We heard the extremely sad news that the Gilroy Garlic Festival will not be holding their annual big Garlic festival. We just couldn’t let that happen! The Noceti Group is thrilled to announce we will be hosting the Garlic Festival this year. More details to come soon! Stay tuned,” the post reads.
The post led to loads of confusion not only for Garlic Festival fans but for the organizers in Gilroy. “They haven’t reached out to anyone at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, the city, or my company. It’s a little irresponsible of them to use our legacy to promote themselves,” longtime Gilroy garlic grower Ken Christopher told KPIX.
Christopher’s family helped to found the 42-year-old Gilroy Garlic Festival and claims the Noceti Group is swooping in and stealing it. "If the Noceti group is earnestly trying to have a garlic promotion in their hometown, god bless them. But claiming to bring back the Gilroy Garlic Festival, without comment or cooperation from our Association, Board, President, or Christopher Ranch is malicious. A bit of a vulture feeding off a wounded corpse. It’s a bit of a parasite. It’s a bit of a tick," Christopher told KTVU.
Tony Noceti, the founder of the Noceti Group, says he’s not backing down. “I don’t mean to be rude to them folks, but their group made the announcement that there wasn’t going to be a festival anymore. I’m not trying to steal their festival. I’m just trying to keep it going for the non-profits, for agriculture, and the people,” Noceti told KPIX. "I spoke to some of the people that worked with the garlic festival in the past. But I guess there are some higher ones up the ladder that are a little upset. Maybe they should call me. Because I’m more than happy to work with people," Noceti told KTVU.
Noceti is expected to hold a press conference on May 7 to clear up the air and give specifics on his plan to move the festival to Stockton. So, stay tuned!