04/18/10 — People expected to pack into Pickle Festival

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People expected to pack into Pickle Festival

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on April 18, 2010 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Pickles are popping up all around Mount Olive in preparation for the 24th annual North Carolina Pickle Festival.

Performers, vendors and the Pickle Festival committee are getting ready for the tens of thousands of visitors expected to gather in town to celebrate one of Wayne County's biggest exports.

This year's festival will spin into action at the Friday night carnival and concert, and continue into Saturday with a road run, bike race, car show and three entertainment stages at the downtown street fair.

The festivities start Friday at noon with a co-sponsored golf tournament. This year the tournament is a combined effort between the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce and the Mount Olive Rotary Club.

Popular beach music group the Band of Oz will return this year to perform in concert at the Mount Olive Airport from 8 to 11:30 p.m. The Mount Olive Jaycees will host a beer garden at the concert. Tickets are on sale for $10 at the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce and will be available for $12 at the door the night of the concert. Snacks will be available for sale. The gates will open at 7 p.m.

In downtown Mount Olive, Brinkley Entertainment's carnival rides will also be open for business at the corner of Main Street and Chestnut Street. For $10, patrons can purchase a wristband to ride as many times as they want from 5 to 9 p.m.

Center Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday as vendors man their booths to sell a variety of items, including food, crafts and other goods. Many of the booths will be putting the money toward helping community organizations carry out their missions.

A dance stage, a main stage and a Christian-centric stage will host a variety of local performers with fare for all tastes and ages. Among the groups scheduled to perform are the Drawing Blanks Band, Sara Dew and Dew Point Rising and C.C. Ryder Band. Dancin' Daze, Desiree Autrey's Academy of Performing Arts and The Arts Company will perform on the dance stage, while groups including the Resonate Band, Matt Bartlett Band and Project Jump will perform on the Christian stage.

Thrill seekers can try a ride on the mechanical bull or go climbing on the rock wall, and if the day gets too warm, the "Water Wars" water balloon-throwing game will be set up behind the Chamber of Commerce to help the overheated cool off. The Mt. Olive Pickle Co. booth in front of the Chamber of Commerce will give away free pickles and host a variety of pickle-related games and activities.

The festival will also host the Touchstone Kids' Area, featuring a petting zoo and costumed characters, including the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. mascot Mr. Crisp. Additionally, face painting, mining for gems and the pig and duck races will take place during the festival.

Registration is still open for the Cucumber Patch 5K, with medals promised to the top two finishers in each age bracket. Registration will continue through 7 a.m. the day of the race, which will leave from the Mount Olive College Kornegay Arena parking lot at 8 a.m.

And this year, the festival is teaming up with the Food Bank of Eastern and Central Carolina to conduct a food drive. Non-perishable items can be dropped off at the dance stage or at the start of the Cucumber Patch 5K road race, or at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. distribution center where the Tour de Pickle bicycle race will set out.

Official Pickle Festival merchandise, including T-shirts, tote bags, hats and visors are now available for purchase at the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce. The T-shirts, printed this year by hometown company Prodigy Activewear, will be $10 for children's sizes, $15 for adult sizes and $16 for an XXL adult shirt. The shirts are available in bright pink, lime green, gray and several other colors.

See Wednesday's Goldsboro News-Argus for more information on the Pickle Festival.