Christmas In The Park
The event is attended by more than 450,000 visitors each year, and has been taking place in Plaza de César Chávez for more than 30 years. It is described as “San Jose’s biggest production.” The event brings an estimated $13 million in visitor spending to the city. It is free to the public, although donations to help offset its costs are suggested.
Next to the park there are about half a dozen rides for children during this time, which in some years have included a Ferris wheel, a pirate ship, etc.
San Jose Jazz Festival
The festival began charging fees in 2006. The admission this year (2014) was $25 per day. Parking ranges from free to $7. They advertise over 80 performances on 11 stages normally. It is noted for excellent and diverse food stands. The main stage is in Plaza de Cesar Chavez with others nearby.
Gilroy Garlic Festival
The 31st festival ran from July 24 to July 26, 2009. 108,526 people attended, sampling such diverse creations as garlic flavored ice cream and garlic french fries. Attendees enjoy three stages full of musical entertainment, a Great Garlic Cook-off, celebrity cooking demonstrations, a garlic braiding workshop, a children’s area, arts and crafts, and many interactive displays.
A Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen is crowned yearly, chosen by a panel of five judges, based on her interview, talent, garlic speech and evening gown. Her court is chosen to represent Gilroy at festivities and “having a garlicy good time with fellow lovers of the pungent bulb.” The 2012 Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen was Julia Brewka.
Over 4,000 volunteers from more than 150 non-profit groups make the festival possible, and over three million people have reportedly come to the festival since it began.
Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival
The Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival, now in its 37th year of turning Memorial Day weekend into a celebration of the mushroom, has big plans for the free May 28-29 event in downtown Morgan Hill, California. The two-day festival of family-fun includes live entertainment on two stages, arts and crafts, gourmet offerings, mushroom education, strolling musicians, street performers, and several city blocks of unique booths. For children, Munchkinland captivates kids with rides, games and continuous entertainment.
Mushrooms, the region’s predominant local crop, are the stars of the festival with opportunities for guests to taste fresh, locally grown mushrooms and learn about their important health benefits. The festival raises funds for educational scholarships, which are granted annually and provides an opportunity for many local non-profit organizations, clubs and schools to create awareness of their cause.