The Second Annual San Benito Olive Festival is Saturday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a new location, Bolado Park in Tres Pinos, south of Hollister. It features more than 15 olive growers and producers of olives and olive oils, including Oils of Paicines, Brigantino Olive Oil, Lucero Olive Oil, MoonShadow Grove, Sons-of-Sicily, The Garlic Shoppe, The True Olive Connection, San Juan Valley Spice Company and The Farm Bertuccio’s, among others. Added this year is the SBOF olive bar to tempt visitors to try a bleu cheese or habanero stuffed olive, or an array of award-winning olive oils.
Planners of this gourmet celebration are creating a welcoming setting full of artisanal food makers and hand craft artists for guests to mingle with artisans, to sample a variety of award-winning olive oils, heirloom orchard favorites, world-class wines, hand craft beer and premium chocolates, as well as to take away recipes. The VIP Tasting Tent, a big attraction last year, has doubled in size to allow guests to chat with sommeliers and sample acclaimed wines by Calera Wine, Pietra Santa Winery, Guglielmo Winery, Graveyard Vineyards, Fortino Winery, Casa de Fruta, Lightheart Cellars, Chateau Sinnet Winery and more.
Olive lovers, foodies and adventurers can enjoy celebrity-chef cooking demos with innovative creations by Chef Mike Fisher, a Hollister native who was classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France; Chef Dorothy McNett, the beloved Central Coast foodie legend; and Chef David Boswell, chef de cuisine at Yahoo! Also conducting live cooking demonstrations are Chef Eric Carter, director of the Culinary Arts at Cabrillo College in Aptos, and Chefs SakaBozzo (Gene Sakahara and Sam Bozzo), the infamous celebrated chefs from the Gilroy Garlic Festival and authors of the popular Any Bozzo Can Cook.
Festivalgoers can wander from the gourmet stage to the music stage to dance or to sip local wines and enjoy their delicious food al fresco con la musica! A variety of music performed by live bands is planned throughout the day, from jazz and big band tunes by Mr. O’s Jazz Band to 1950s doo-wop by The Flashbacks and pop rock by Shiloh and Retrospect. Festival guests can pose for pictures, and dance a bit, too, with Ollie, the festival’s mascot.
The San Benito Olive Festival, a nonprofit organization, added an olive education booth and a display of a collection of olive-themed cartoons, some of which date back to 1959, at the event. It will also feature Folklorico Juvenil de Lucy Rodriguez, a Mexican folklore dance troupe, in the entertainment lineup. In addition, festival guests can visit the San Benito County Saddle Horse Association Museum, located at the south end of the grandstand, which features the area’s rich equestrian heritage and agricultural history.
The festival offers guests the opportunity to find gifts with local flair from area artisans and merchants. Selling bath and body care products are the likes of Pageo Lavender Farm, Oils of Paicines and La Dolce Vita Home and Garden. Guests can also find handcrafted wood, jewelry, quilts, artwork and gourds by artists T. Rush Ink, Artistic Woodcrafts, Fyrekraker Designs Jewelry and The Last Stitch Longarm Quilting and Design Studio, just to name a few.
Regular admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children 5-12, which includes admission, celebrity chef demonstrations, live music and free parking. The $35 VIP ticket gives additional access to the VIP Tasting Tent with five tastes of premium wine and/or craft beer, a branded wine glass and delicious treats. Tickets are available at Postal Graphics and San Benito Bene in Hollister; Visions in San Juan Bautista; and the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Gilroy Welcome Center and Patti’s Perfect Pantry in Gilroy. Tickets are also sold online at Eventbrite.com.