Pickle Festival


Goldsboro News-Argus - Pickle Festival

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T he annual mascot race at the N.C. Pickle Festival is a chance to pit all sorts of char- acters together, with the toughest part usually navigating in a bulky cos- tume. They only have one job, laughed Julie Beck, co-chairman of the festi- val. "Just run," she said. "But for some people, like Ollie Q. Cumber, it's very difficult. "We realize some will never win because the costume is very restric- tive." This marks the third year for the event, growing in popularity for par- ticipants and festival attendees alike. "We ask our mascots to show up at 1 o'clock and they dance," Beck said. "We invite children to come up and get their pictures taken with the mas- cots. They interact with the children for about 20 minutes. "It's just a fun activity. But second of all, it's a good way for businesses to promote their business. It's just great marketing for their company." The idea took root several years ago when Lynn Williams, the other festival co-chairman, saw some- thing similar in another community. It may seem like a competition of sorts, but it is also a lot for fun and interactive concept that parents as well as children enjoy, Beck said. "It's competitive in a roundabout way but I think the ones in the mascot costumes enjoy it," she said. The actual mascot race starts at 2 p.m. and is bro- ken down into heats, dividing the participants into groups and then narrowing down the field. "It takes place at the News-Argus corner, East James Street and North Center Street. They run down East James Street and toward the police department — not that they're going to get arrested," Beck said with a laugh. The event typically draws a dozen or more mascots — from the University of Mount Olive Trojan and Ollie Q. Cumber from Mt. Olive Pickle Co. to the Chick-Fil-A cow and Mr. Pig from Piggly Wiggly. "Last year we had a bear from the Exchange Club, we had Texas Roadhouse," she said. "We call some and other people just contact us." The ultimate winner receives the traveling trophy, which will be engraved with their name on it. The prize, adorned with a giant pickle on top, goes home with the winner each year, giving them bragging rights. 30 — Mount Olive Messenger Wednesday, April 25, 2018 THE ULTIMATE COMPETITION Competitors in the annual Mascot Race at the N.C. Pickle Festival have one mission — just run. Mascots from area businesses run to the finish line in hopes of winning the ultimate contest dur- ing the 2017 N.C. Pickle Festival. Story by Phyllis Moore

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