Bigger Better and Bolder- Garlic Festival 2017 Therapy

We are finishing the clean up from the 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival this past weekend which brought in over a 102,000 visitors and secured a record as the World’s Largest Garlic Festival. Serving this year as the festival president has been challenging, hard work and exciting at the same time. Yes, it is a non-paid volunteer position that I can only hold for one year and then pass the baton to the Vice President who will follow. Some people have asked me…”Why would you ever volunteer for something like that!”, looking at me like I was crazy or something (see my earlier post). Well let me explain…

As president I have been able to see amazing things and serve in amazing ways. Let me give you a quick run down:

Meeting and leading over 4,000 community volunteers

Serving from the outer rim to the inner sanctum (parking to Gourmet Alley) see my flame up video (pyro chef president mike z)

Leading a team in one of the world’s greatest events

Raising money for the greater good of my city.

So we used Bigger, Better, Bolder as our theme this year and our team accomplished it. We created a the 5th largest attendance in 20 years (up 20k from last yr), we improved the flow and experience in the festival for all, and we selected a Food Network Super-Star to grace our cook off stage. Just a few improvements amidst many.

Well I realized that going bigger-better-bolder is actually what I do in therapy with folks everyday. I help people become:

Bigger- growing up emotionally (maturity that is from childish self to adult self)

Better- improving all things to enjoy more things

Bolder- having courage to face fear and find greatness

So while this was one of the toughest leadership challenges I ever experienced, it was natural and the vision was oddly organic. I will never have the opportunity to serve our community in this festival position again. It is reserved for a select few- chosen by a rigorous process and a little luck. It can never be repeated by the bylaws of the festival but must be passed on to others. Yet passing onto others is what I am all about. And I am grateful to be part of such a wonderful tradition.

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