04/25/14 — Final checks being made for pickle festival

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Final checks being made for pickle festival

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on April 25, 2014 1:46 PM

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Ollie Q. Cumber relaxes while Julie Beck and Lynn Williams give him a vine trim at Barbara and Company Hair Styling in downtown Mount Olive Thursday. Ollie wants to look his best for the North Carolina Pickle Festival this Saturday.

The streets of Mount Olive will be filled with thousands of people Saturday as the North Carolina Pickle Festival returns for its 28th year.

The all-day event will have an abundance of special events in store for the whole family. And with the weather predicted to be warm and sunny, organizers are optimistic of a big crowd.

Special events include a naturalization ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. at the Dancer's Stage (head north on Center Street), the 55 Challenge in which competitive eaters will try to down 55-ounces of burger from Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries beginning at noon at the intersection of James and Center streets, to be followed by the Buddy's Bridal Cake Dive at 2 p.m. in which 10 women will don veils while tearing through a cake for diamonds.

A perennial favorite at the festival has been Circus Stella, an acrobatic duo and their posse of canines who perform tricks, with shows throughout the day at 10:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 2:35 p.m. on a lot on south Center Street.

But special events aren't the only draw to the pickle festival, music and entertainment on three different stages will entertain attendees throughout the day. From country music to gospel, the many different types of performers will cater to anyone's musical tastes.

Food is also a must at the pickle festival. Pickles provided by the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. will be free of charge throughout the day. Festival foods will also be available. Some highlights include the Pickle Nickel Pretzels -- or a pickle baked between two Philly-style pretzels -- crab cakes and of course, deep-fried pickles.

If health is more your concern, show up early for the Cuke Patch 5K Run/Walk starting at 8 a.m. at the University of Mount Olive Kornegay Arena parking lot. Bikers can experience the Tour de Pickle which has a 25-mile, 50-mile and 75-mile option. The rides begin around 9:30 a.m. The Tour de Pickle begins at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. Distribution Center warehouse located at the intersection of North Center Street and Northeast Church Road just north of Mount Olive.

The annual opening concert will take place tonight at the Mount Olive Municipal Airport at 227 Mount Olive Airport Road. A top-40 band out of Wilmington, 40 East, will begin its set a little later than originally scheduled -- at 9 p.m. -- and play until 11:30 p.m. Gates will open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for children and $15 for adults. A beer and wine garden will also be available at the party.

For children, the carnival midway rides will also be open Friday night for a marked down price of $10 for carnival rides from 5 to 9 p.m. Carnival rides are located at the intersection of Chestnut and Main streets.

Because of the anticipated heat, festival attendees are encouraged to be prepared for a long day out on the sun with plenty of sunscreen and comfortable shoes and dress.

For those arriving late, parking is available at the University of Mount Olive Kornegay Arena parking lot. A shuttle will run from the parking lot to downtown Mount Olive throughout the day.