The 25th edition of the N.C. Pickle Festival is set for this weekend, with the festival’s main day Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Mount Olive.
The event, put on by the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, celebrates the community’s most famous product. Last year, an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 people turned out for a day of live music, carnival rides, classic cars and tractors, arts and crafts, pony and camel rides, and food, food, food.
Of course, the festival featured pickle-related events such as the Pickle Packing Production Challenge, the Pickle Derby, pickle art displays and the Tickled Pickle Poetry Contest.
Did we mention free pickles courtesy of the Mt. Olive Pickle Company?
This year’s event has some added attractions — the Pack a Pickle Pal, where festival-goers can make their own stuffed animal and dress it in a commemorative festival t-shirt, Micro Reality Remote Controlled Racing, a bungee run, and, not to be outdone, the Pickle Plaster Plunge. The latter is a home-grown attraction of green-colored corn starch and water that enables festival goers to “walk on water” — if they run across it fast enough.
Proceeds from the Pickle Plaster Plunge will benefit Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and the festival is also sponsoring a canned food drive with three convenient collection points.
Also, early Saturday is the Tour de Pickle Bike Ride, featuring 25, 50 and 75-mile bike rides into the surrounding countryside, and the Cuke Patch 5K run through downtown Mount Olive. Registration for the run starts at 7 a.m. at Mount Olive College’s Kornegay Arena, and the ride’s registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Mt. Olive Pickle Company’s distribution center. Free parking is available all day Saturday at Mount Olive College’s Kornegay Arena, and shuttles courtesy of the college will run from the parking area to downtown regularly.
Other festival events this week include: the Pickle Me Pink Tea Party for little girls and their special guests, today from 2-4 p.m. in Mount Olive’s Historic Depot. Tickets are $25 per couple and include refreshments and take-home crafts. Wear your fanciest hat!
Friday night, the Band of Oz concert, presented by 107.9 and the Beasley Broadcast Group, will begin at 8 p.m. at the Mount Olive Municipal Airport. Tickets are $15 at the gate. Friday Night Downtown, April 29, from 5-9 p.m. at the Corner of Chestnut and West Main streets. Pay one price carnival rides, $10, Micro Reality Remote Controlled Racing, Pack a Pickle Pal, Friends of Steele Library Book Sale, and concessions by the Tri-County EMC Scholarship Foundation.
The N.C. Pickle Festival Praise & Worship Service will be Sunday, May 1, at 6 p.m. at Mount Olive First Pentecostal Holiness Church.
For more information on the events, go to www.ncpicklefest.org, where you can find a downloadable map and schedule of events.