Festival lineup includes a little bit of everything 'pickle'
By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 29, 2011 1:46 PM
Caroline Jones has a sip of tea with her grandmother, Carolyn Withers, during the Pickle Me Pink Tea Party at the historic Mount Olive Depot on Wednesday. Women of all ages enjoyed tea while wearing their fancy hats and their "Sunday best" dresses. Children enjoyed arts and crafts, while the adults chatted and all had finger foods, some with a pickle flair to them. The event was a part of the annual North Carolina Pickle Festival that has its big day Saturday.
MOUNT OLIVE -- There will be so much to dill-light in during this weekend's 25th annual North Carolina Pickle Festival that people might not have any idea as where to start.
But here's a clue: "You are never too old to get out of character, clown around and act like a kid to enjoy the activities at this year's festival."
For the other clues that will take people on a grand tour of downtown Saturday, while at the same time searching for a hidden jar of Mt. Olive Pickles, people will have to visit the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce information booth.
People must follow and decipher the clues to locate the jar and must bring the jar back to the information booth to claim a prize -- a choice of a N.C. Pickle Festival T-shirt or N.C. Pickle Festival cap and a pickle pack.
The festival will get under way about 9 a.m. and continue until about 5 p.m. Saturday.
However, people don't have to wait until Saturday to enjoy the festival. The Band of Oz, will perform tonight at the Mount Olive Airport, while downtown, children will be able to enjoy carnival rides and make their own stuffed animals.
The airport gates will open at 7 p.m. and the concert will get under way at 8 p.m. and end at 11:30.
Admission will be $15 per person for ages 13 and up and $5 for ages 5-12. Children 5 and younger will be admitted free.
New this year will be a "cornhole" tournament. The cost will be $5 per person or $10 per team. People can sign up at the airport.
The Mount Olive Jaycees will again operate a beer wagon and the Country Squire restaurant in Kenansville will sell wine and offer wine tastings. Food will be sold by the Friendly Mart.
Ollie Q. Cumber, the Mt. Olive Pickle Co.'s new mascot, is expected to put in an appearance as well.
Downtown, Tri-County Electric Membership Corp. employees will be selling hot dogs, pizza, chips, drinks and baked goods on Friday night from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. across from the carnival rides.
Proceeds will benefit the Tri-County employee-funded scholarship program. The company is sponsoring the ride and children's area downtown.
Brinkley Entertainment from Walnut Cove is furnishing the rides that will be located in the parking lot at the corner of North Chestnut and West main Streets.
Tonight between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. people can pay $10 and ride all that they want. Individual tickets on Saturday will be $1 each or 14 for $12 or 30 for $20.
Each ride requires three to five tickets.
The Pack-A-Pickle Pal -- similar to Build-A-Bear -- will be held from 5 from 9 p.m. Friday as well. Each one will be $20 and will come with a T-shirt with a Pickle Festival logo printed on it.
ATMs are making a return. One will be located near the carnival rides and the other in front of the Chamber office.
Also tonight in the children's area people will be able to test their skills at driving will micro-reality cars.
On Saturday, the Pack-A-Pickle Pal will be in front of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce office, 123 N. Center St., while the micro-reality cars will be near Patterson Furniture store on the east side of 100 block of South Center Street.
Saturday's full day of events gets under way early with sign-ups for the Cuke Patch 5K Run and the Tour de Pickle bike ride and will continue through Saturday.
The Cuke Patch starts at 8 a.m. from the parking lot of Kornegay Arena at Mount Olive College.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. for the Tour de Pickle at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. Distribution Center on the Old Mount Olive Highway just north of town. The 75-mile ride starts at 9 a.m. followed by the 50-mile ride at 9:05 a.m. and the 25-mile ride at 9:10 a.m.
Also arriving early will be the 200 classic vehicles that will line both side of the 200 block of North Center Street for the popular car show.
The remainder of the downtown area will be packed with vendors selling a variety of foods, arts and crafts and other items. A number of local organizations will be holding fundraising events as well.
And there will be a animal rides, clowns, games, and carnivals rides, many geared towards children.
For the most part, the children's activities are located between the alleyway behind the Chamber office and the parking lot at the corner of North Chestnut and West Main streets where the Brinkley Entertainment carnival rides will be located.
The children's area, located across Chestnut Street from the rides on the lawn area of the Mount Olive Housing Authority office, will operate Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
A $3 wristband will allow children to enter the area and play a variety of games. They will be able to come and go as often as they want.
Games will include a Pickle Derby in which small cars race down a large ramp similar to the Boy Scouts' Pinewood Derby.
Children will be able to go to a prize station for their prizes.
Ronald McDonald and other costumed McDonald's characters will be in the children's area from noon to 2 p.m. and Ronald McDonald will put on 45-minute performances. Other mascots such as Andy's Andyman, Mt. Olive Pickle Co.'s Ollie Q. Cumber, Piggly Wiggly's Mr. Pig, Butterball's Butterball and Mount Olive College's Trojan will be in the children's area from noon to 2 p.m. as well.
There will be three stages of entertainment with a wide variety of music -- gospel, rock and roll, a youth group.
The dancers' stage will be located at the corner of North Center and West College streets and the band stage will be located next to Southern Bank on the east side of the 100 block of North Center Street.
A fourth stage will feature a different taste when five professionals and one amateur will attempt to devour a 50-ounce Andy's Big A cheeseburger, six ounces of fries and 24 ounces of soft drink.
The Andy's Big A Challenge will be held at corner of South Center and East Main streets starting at 11:30 a.m. A television will be set up to show past competitions and highlights of the new professionals coming in to compete.
The camel and pony rides that had been located on Chestnut Street have also been moved to the to the area behind the Chamber office near the pig and duck races. The move was made to ensure that the street would be clear in case of emergency traffic.
The duck and pig races will be in that area, too.
An addition Saturday is an inflatable bungie run that will be located near the micro-reality race cars. Three people, each attached to a bungie, will compete at a time and whoever is able to put their marker the farthest down the course is the winner. The cost of that will be $3 for three tries.
Pickle Plaster Plunge is a frame two- or three-feet deep frame filled with cornstarch and water, which forms a gel. People can run across it without sinking, but if they stop, they sink. The cost will be $1 and that money will go to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
Another first is a caricaturist that will be in the alleyway, too.
The festival will officially close with Sunday worship service at 6 p.m. at Mount Olive First Pentecostal Holiness Church.