01/01/10 — Pickle Drop marks start of new year

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Pickle Drop marks start of new year

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 1, 2010 11:37 AM

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Sisters Savannah Baker, front left, Sydney Baker, back left, and their friends Kayley Kennedy, front right, and Molly James, back right, wait for the pickle to drop into its vat in Mount Olive at midnight Greenwich Mean Time, 7 p.m. in Mount Olive.

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A crowd of Mount Olive College students, along with local residents, celebrated New Year's Eve at Murphy's in downtown Mount Olive.

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Elle Dubberly, left, Brandon Jones and Amy Jo Jones celebrate the new year at The Flying Shamrock in Goldsboro shortly after midnight.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Nearly 2,000 people -- packed like pickles in a jar -- jockeyed for the best vantage point Thursday night at the corner of Cucumber and Vine streets to watch a big lighted pickle make its way down a flagpole and into a vat to welcome the new year.

People were making their way onto the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. property well before the gate's official 6 p.m. opening for the 10th annual Pickle Drop and shortly after 7 p.m. (midnight Greenwich Mean Time) the crowd was leaving.

Temperatures were moderate and the expected rain that had concerned company officials during the day held off until just as the crowd was breaking up.

The Harmony Boys of Mount Olive provided music and spectators made short work of the boxes of traditional New Year's Eve hats and noise makers. Hot chocolate and apple cider as well as cookies and of course, pickles, went quickly, too.

As the new marquee clock mounted above the vat hit 60 seconds, the crowd began a loud countdown to 2010 and broke into a raucous cheer as the pickle entered the vat.

The splash was followed by the release of balloons that rose and quickly disappeared into the night sky.

Most of those in attendance were local, but a few, like Pete Phillips and family, traveled from elsewhere to view the unique celebration.

Phillips, his wife and his granddaughter had driven for about an hour and a half from their home in Sanford, about 100 miles west of Mount Olive.

He said he hoped the photos he had taken of the pickle drop would be good enough to put on his Facebook page so that friends he has been communicating with in Australia would be able to see the event he had told them about.

"I had never known there was such a thing until our granddaughter told us we were going to the Pickle Drop," he said.

The festive event was well worth the time and drive, he said afterward, adding that there is a good chance that his family will be back next year.

"It made the granddaughter happy," Phillips said. "It was a big pickle. When it hit it had to make a big splash."