Pickle Festival


Goldsboro News-Argus - Pickle Festival

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 Mount Olive Pickle Festival — 5 nity gym where Miss Peggy Roberts, repre- senting Goldsboro High School, was crowned Miss 1952 Festival Queen. It would be another 30 years before the Pickle Festival would resprout and still be sponsored by the Chamber. But before returning to pickles, the town experimented with the Festival of Flowers held in April in the early 1980s. The festival lasted only a few years par- tially because the blooming of the town's many flowers didn't always correspond to the festival date. In November 1986, Phil E. Flemming, director of media relations for Carolina Power and Light Co. at the time, was invit- ed to Mount Olive to talk about ways to improve the festival. He suggested dropping the Festival of Flowers and a Fall Jamboree and instead hold just one event promoting what the area is known for — pickles. The first two festivals in 1987 and 1988 were held in mid-September. The third festival was moved to late April in 1989 and continues to be held over the last weekend in April. This year's festival will be held Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29. The Friday night events include a concert, dance and other activities downtown and carnival rides in the parking lot across Main Street from Steele Memorial Library. Originally, events were shared between Mount Olive and nearby Faison in Duplin County, then the home of Chas. F. Cates & Sons pickle company. However, the majority of events were held in Mount Olive and after about a decade, Faison and Cates were no longer involved in the festival. The festival's events and attractions have changed and grown over the years to have included a wedding and parades, one with large balloon characters. The parades have since been discontinued. However, the festival's core events remain: carnival rides, games and other activities for children, non-stop entertainment on Saturday, a Friday night concert, a large classic car show, displays, vendors, arts and crafts, plenty of food, library book sale, and of course, free pickles. Popular as well are the 5K Cuke Patch Run and the Tour de Pickle bike ride. Other unique events have included a tea party for young girls and their mothers and/or grandmothers, a drive-in theater at the University of Mount Olive, a Pickle Treasure Hunt and the Hwy 55 Challenge eating competition. Queens and princesses continue to be part of the festivities as well. The festival also provides area churches, civic groups and non-profit organizations with a venue for giveaways and fundraisers. For those who want something to remem- ber the festival by, the Chamber offers col- orful T-shirts sporting the festival logo. Festival caps and visors are available, too. The North Carolina Pickle Festival draws tens of thousands to downtown Mount Olive every year. PICKLED IN HISTORY PICKLE ART: Art competition coordinates with schools Artistic expression comes in many forms, from music and dance to photography or paint- ing. At this year's N.C. Pickle Festival, it will take the form of a pickle. Mt. Olive Pickle Company will host the annu- al pickle art competition at the festival this year, inviting students of all ages to submit pickle-themed works of art for a chance at prizes and recognition. The contest has been a tradition at the pickle festival for over 20 years, said Mt. Olive Pickle Company Public Relations Manager Lynn Williams. The company coordinates with local school art teachers, encouraging them to have their students submit pickle art. Ms. Williams said students from all grade lev- els are welcome to submit art, and often do. "It's always a surprise, how many submissions we get," she said. "Elementary art often makes up a large percentage, and we have pieces from middle and high schoolers as well." Pickle art is a personal favorite for Ms. Williams, who said she is delighted each year by the creativity and variety of the submissions. Some of her favorite pieces include a pickle man painting a self portrait and a spoof of the Beatles' classic "Abbey Road" album cover with pickle men in place of the Beatles. The pickle company often purchases some of the art from the contestants for display around its plant. The building has pickle art from across the years hanging throughout its halls, from paper creations and paintings to metal pieces. Pieces should reflect the spirit of the N.C. Pickle Festival, Ms. Williams said, either through their relation to the company, the festival itself or just pickles in gen- eral. Judges will look at how well the art embodies that spirit, as well as the quality and amount of effort put in to each piece. Judges Mary Ann Barwick and Beth Hill are former art teachers, and Ms. Williams said they have been instrumental in getting the contest together for years. While the contest is the furthest thing from ruthless competition, there are small prizes for those who place high. First prize is $10, while second place wins a Mt. Olive Pickle Company shirt. Third place will receive a coupon for a free jar of pickles. Contestants should bring their entries to the historic train depot at 110 W. Main St. by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 28. The art will be on display in the depot for the duration of the pickle festival, for any- one to view. The N.C. Pickle Festival will again feature an art competition, inviting local students to submit entries. Continued from 4

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