Flames and food, a cooking spectacular, garlic, butter, calamari and pasta... The garlic festival celebrates the stinking rose that has received international acclaim for this city. It's also raised the interest of police. 1,000 tickets were stolen from the festival office. Some people have tried to sell them on eBay. One guy was hawking them out of a van in San Luis Obispo County. But none have shown up at the festival
"We had undercover people out at the gates today looking for those tickets and we haven't seen any. So, we're pretty sure the word got out, the numbers got out, the series of tickets they were, and people were smart enough not to use them," garlic festival president Hugh Davis told ABC7 News.
Fake tickets won't hurt the festival, but it could be costly for the charities that rely on the event. There are 4,000 volunteers from 200 organizations. That income is used in a lot of ways. "Either the sports program or money towards books or laptops," volunteer Dennis Watts said. A lot of them are cooking and the job is just a little bit bigger than what you might do for the family at home. "There's a lot of garlic and there's about 75 pounds of butter and 25 pounds of margarine," volunteer Dave Bruni explained, offering a cup from the massive pot he was stirring.
The cooking techniques draw a crowd. "It's very fast, using really good ingredients, cooking very quickly but thoroughly, but the technique for getting it really hot is being very patient. Let that heat get up there in that pan with that oil, then you put the squid. It steams that oil, then just a little shake to get that air underneath it, boom. It explodes," volunteer John Vickroy said.
Maybe people shouldn't try this home. Relax, eat, and listen to some music. And, there's one thing you have to give a go, that international sensation, garlic ice cream. It is something that will stay with you for hours. Or maybe overnight.
100,000 people are expected at the festival this weekend.