Festival Inversion, Subversion, and the Enactment of Labor Relations
This chapter analyzes major events at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which include the Gilroy Garlic Queen Pageant, garlic braiding classes, and the garlic topping contest. It argues that as place-based food festival royalty, the Garlic Queen personifies the locality’s food–place association. She and her court symbolize Gilroy and its garlic, further strengthening garlic’s role as the vehicle by which citizens of Gilroy affirm community values. The garlic braiding classes enact the classic festival inversion: what is in reality work is situated as play, and those who normally enjoy the fruits of others’ labors do the labor themselves. The garlic topping contest is a microcosm of the labor, power, and race relations of garlic production in Santa Clara County, and of worker–consumer relations in general.
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