Cal-bound royalty

2018 Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Sets the Pace

FESTIVAL FANCY On her way to UC Berkeley in the fall, Garlic Queen Sloan Pace says she participated in pageant on a whim.
Ask any young lady who’s been named a pageant queen, and she’ll tell you the title was won only after months of preparation. And for some, after years of dreaming about it.

But Sloan Pace had never even considered it.

“I never really thought I would [be in one] until this one came up,” says the 2018 Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen, daughter of James and Rory Pace.

However, a chance suggestion from a friend who participated in last year’s pageant had the recent Gilroy high school grad giving it a second thought.

“She enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give it a try,” the 17-year-old says.

It’s a good thing Pace did.

Not only was Pace crowned queen at the scholarship pageant held on May 6 at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, but she was awarded the $1,000 top prize from the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association (GGFA) as well as Christopher Ranch’s top prize, a $10,000 scholarship. Pace also won the Garlic Speech competition, awarded with $1,000 from Olam.

“We prepared for the pageant for around two months,” Pace says. “We met twice a week and did a rehearsal-type thing—we did garlic trivia, practiced our skits and our talents.”

Even though she never saw herself as a pageant queen, her resume of youth activities have certainly prepared her for the title. And they also show Pace’s tenacity in gaining such other crowning achievements.

A Girl Scout from age 5 until high school, Pace has been a competitive gymnast for nine years, both as a member of a club team and her high school varsity team, where she served as captain for two years.

She also sang with the Gilroy High School Chamber Singers for four years, traveling with them to Ireland, Costa Rica and New York, and took part in Gilroy Unified School District’s Gilroy-Takko Student Exchange Program. As a high school sophomore, Pace stayed with a host family for one week in Gilroy’s sister city, Takko-machi, and was “immersed in Japanese culture,” she says.

Little did Pace know the exchange program would prepare her for one of her duties as queen: This September, she will return to Gilroy’s sister city for their Garlic and Beef Festival.

Pace was also a member of the Biomedical Science Academy at Gilroy High School, a four-year program.

It’s a hefty list of achievements for the young Gilroy resident, who will be entering the University of California-Berkeley this fall.

“I’m planning on studying molecular and cell biology with the hopes of going on to medical school after,” she says.

“I’d like to work in maternal-fetal medicine, a branch off of obstetrics.”

Before heading off to college, though, Pace and her court will appear at several events this summer. She’s enjoying newfound friends in her court.

“It was really a collaborative experience with all the other girls in the pageant,” Pace says. “We all got really close. It was nice to build that new family.”


Queen Sloane Pace and her court will represent the 40th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival July 27-29.

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