On Thursday July 26, 2018, the evening before the opening of the 40thGilroy Garlic Festival, there was a unique gathering at Christmas Hill Park. Many past and present Garlic Festival presidents, board members and guest gathered to dedicate a plaque honoring the founders of the Festival. In attendance were members of Rudy Melone’s and Val Felice’s family and Don Christopher along with members of his family.
The plaque reads:
Don Christopher, Val Felice & Rudy Melone spearheaded the formation of the Gilroy Garlic Festival. The first Festival was held in 1979. Annually, over 4,000 volunteers work the Festival to provide financial benefits to charities and non-profits groups while promoting the community of Gilroy through the celebration of garlic. The Garlic Festival has returned millions of dollars to the community. The first Gourmet Alley, in this park setting was held here in the Mulberry Picnic area.”
The plaque and monument were made possible by many generous donations and help from the City of Gilroy and the Gilroy Public Art Committee. Special thanks to Karen Aitken, B.J. Strange, Greg Bozzo and Mark Zappa.