04/25/10 — Mr. Crisp hosts his last Pickle Festival

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Mr. Crisp hosts his last Pickle Festival

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 25, 2010 1:50 AM

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Cooper Jordan, 6, and Alianna Jordan, 8, of Farmville pose with Mr. Crisp at the N.C. Pickle Festival Saturday. They are the children of Bruce and Kelley Cooper.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Adam Tilley, 10, and his brother Grayson, 7, raced to grab Mr. Crisp and give him a hug as he made his way down Center Street Saturday during the 24th annual North Carolina Pickle festival.

Adam said he wasn't scared even though Mr. Crisp towered over him.

"I like him very, very, very, very much," Adam said.

Grayson said he likes eating pickles, but that he didn't share that information with Mr. Crisp, the eight-foot-tall pickle, who has served as mascot for the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. for almost 25 years.

Others weren't as quite as sure about Mr. Crisp, including 2-year-old Brayden Vanderpool. Brayden eyed him from a distance and then began to make his way toward him only to turn and flee. In his haste he stumbled and fell and had to show his dad, Christopher, his knee.

They are scenes that are repeated wherever Mr. Crisp goes. Mr. Crisp said children are either fascinated with him, like Santa Claus, or they run away screaming.

Adults also jockey for position to get a hug from Mr. Crisp and to have their photos taken with him.

They are reactions that Mr. Crisp will miss in coming months -- he is retiring and preparing to turn the mascot duties over to Ollie Q. Cumber who will be introduced later this summer.

However, people should not be surprised to see Mr. Crisp make the occasional appearance, including at next year's 25th annual N.C. Pickle Festival.

"It was a beautiful day," he said. "There were a lot of good families out there today enjoying the Pickle Festival, lots of entertainment and lots of great food. Mr. Crisp is stuffed. We can't go more than just a few feet and we have to stop and give a lot of hugs, get a lot of high fives, and take lots of pictures. There are a lot of fans out there. If we could get a few more fans inside the suit then we would be OK.

"I don't think we have seen the last of Mr. Crisp. I like the Pickle Festival too much. I am sure that I will be back. I think we are going to call it semi-retirement. The crowd was great. The festival was great like it is every year. Getting pushed and pulled in many directions, everybody wants to get my attention. Everybody wants my attention."

According to company officials, Mr. Crisp's retirement allows them to introduce the young and "more hip" Ollie Q. Cumber. Whereas Mr. Crisp was more of a local phenomenon, Ollie will show up more on company marketing projects.

Both Mr. Crisp and Ollie have Facebook pages and people may also visit Ollie at www.mtolivepickles.com.