Gilroy Garlic Festival kicks off with app to stay cool

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The 36th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival has a new app to help attendees navigate the event and stay cool.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival begins its 36th year Friday. Organizers have decided to make a few adjustments in an effort to keep the celebration of their culinary gem fresh and to keep attendees safe and comfortable on a day that could see record temperatures.

One of those new features is a new, downloadable app to show people where they can find watering stations and cooling tents.

The festival's executive director Brian Bowe said, "We've done a few things differently."

With thousands expected to attend, crews added canopies over cooking and event stations, shade tents for folks to sit and eat, and this year, rain rooms and misting stations for when things get really hot.

"We have plenty of water and frozen lemonade, plenty of stuff to keep them hydrated. We even have a couple of free water booths so people can make sure they stay hydrated and enjoy their day," Bowe said.

They are also making it easier for folks to find a watering stations or their group if they're separated with a technology upgrade. They are introducing the Garlic Festival app.

"They can get the app, they can see a moving map of where they are in the park, how to get from point A to point B," Bowe said.

One of the things everyone attending a festival always finds themselves looking for is a portable toilet.

"Here it's gonna get hot. It's gonna be a hot one today. Well, all weekend, but we're ready for it," said Ruben Lopez of United Site Services.

Crews tried to get ahead of the heat by putting the toilets in place early. More than 240 will be set up around the park to accommodate the crowds.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is strictly volunteer. Last year they raised more then $350,000 to area non-profits. This year they are on track to beat that figure.
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