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Beloved Gilroy Garlic Festival canceled amid rising costs, pandemic uncertainty

GILROY (CBS SF/BCN) -- The world-famous Gilroy Garlic Festival, a much-loved annual weekend event that has been a mainstay since the late 1970s, has been canceled in 2022 and for the foreseeable future, organizers announced Thursday.

Citing lingering uncertainties from the pandemic, along with "prohibitive insurance requirements" by the city of Gilroy, the festival's board of directors has decided to replace the large-scale weekend gathering in Christmas Hill Park with a series of smaller, more intimate events.

"Obviously, we are left frustrated and disappointed," according to a board statement. "Our world-renowned festival has helped showcase Gilroy and the South County for 42 years while raising millions of dollars for local charities. The festival is part of our heritage. Now we must ensure that it is part of our future. While it will never be the massive event of the past, a more intimate, local festival can still allow us to celebrate the community, garlic, and all it inspires."

This year, the board plans to have the following events spread throughout the year, including its second annual golf tournament on June 24; a concert at Clos La Chance Winery on July 13; and a Farm to Table Dinner sometime this fall.

The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and it was a drive-thru event last year.

It also never really recovered from a mass shooting in 2019. Santino William Legan entered the festival grounds by cutting through a fence to avoid metal detectors.

He killed three people -- 13-year-old Keyla Salazar of San Jose, 6-year-old Stephen Romero of San Jose and 25-year-old Trevor Irby of New York -- and injured 17 others before taking his own life as police closed in.

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