MOUNT OLIVE — The tens of thousands of people expected to pack into Mount Olive this Saturday for the 33rd annual N.C. Pickle Festival don’t have to worry about finding themselves in a pickle because of parking.
While there is plenty of free parking on the streets off of the downtown area, festival-goers can avoid traffic congestion and riding in search of a parking spot by riding the free shuttle buses that will be available.
Free parking will be available at the Kornegay Arena on the University of Mount Olive campus on Henderson Street and from there, people can ride a free shuttle to and from downtown.
The shuttle will run about every 15 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
It will drop off and pick up passengers at the corner of Henderson and North Center streets where a welcome center will be set up.
“There will be volunteers there passing out brochures when they get off the bus,” festival co-chairman Julie Beck said. “There will be pickle cutouts and nice backdrop where you can take a nice photo of you as a pickle and post it right on social media and say, ‘Guess where I am at — the Pickle Festival,’ and then you can walk down the street to the festival.”
Free parking will be available on downtown area streets but it is limited to just one side of a street. Parking is not allowed on both sides in order to keep the street open for emergency vehicles.
The sides were no parking is allowed will be marked by no parking signs.
Festival-goers are asked to be mindful of parking and not to block streets and driveways, police Chief Tommy Brown said.
Brown also encourages festival-goers to take advantage of the free shuttle and the paid parking that will be available.
Free handicapped parking will be located at the Convention of Original Free Will Baptist Churches headquarters (the old Steele Memorial Library building) at the corner of West James and North Chestnut streets. A handicapped parking placard or license tag is required in order to be able to park in the lot.
Four paid parking lots will be open. They will be located at Mount Olive Family Medicine, North Breazeale Avenue; First Baptist Church Christian Life Center, West John Street; First United Methodist Church, East James Street; and the parking lot at the old IGA store at the corner of South Church and East Main streets.
Boy Scout troops are operating the lots at the Family Medicine Center and the old IGA as fundraisers, while the other two lots are fundraisers for the churches.
The cost is $7 for each lot.
Most of the parking space at Mount Olive Town Hall will be reserved for vendors.
Also, the lot behind the Southern Bank headquarters will be reserved for vendors at the Artisan Village and Got to be N.C. areas. A pass will be required to park in that lot.