Pickles Tickle Rosendale
By By Samantha Camillery, Contributing Writer
On Nov. 21, pickle lovers from all around gathered for the seventh annual Rosendale International Pickle Festival. The community center was filled with crafts, food, music and of course, pickles.
In 1998, Eri Yamaguchi and Bill Brooks discovered a mutual love of pickles. They wanted to have a pickle party for about 200 people but instead 1,000 people showed up.
That was the birth of the Rosendale Pickle Festival, and it has been growing ever since.
Last year, 4,800 people showed up at the Rosendale Community Center to celebrate their love of pickles and this year the number was expected to reach over 5,000.
"We try to bring world peace and harmony through pickles," said Bill Liggan, the number three pickle, or third in command of the festival. "You can pickle almost anything. We believe in all things pickled."
The Rosendale Pickle Festival is international. Countries from all over the world are represented in this event. Each culture brings their native dances and foods to showcase their country. Italy, Romania, Germany, Ireland and Japan were present this year.
Next year, Monica Gudka, a volunteer for the festival, hopes to have a greater Indian turnout and has built a base for it already this year.
Although the name may be deceiving, the Pickle Festival is more then just pickles. Food booths, free samples, prizes, unique gifts and live music fill the day with fun. To top off the day's events were a pickle eating contest, a pickle toss and a pickle juice drinking contest.
The festival was held underneath a circus tent. The 200 foot "big-top" was home to vendors who gave out free samples of pickles to festival goers, as well as samples of other pickled goods and foods.
The vendors sell their prize winning pickled products, coffee, knitted goods, crafts and jewelry. Pickle-shaped and scented soap, dill pickled flavored potato chips, and pickled bananas were all for sale.
The entrance fee and all other proceeds raised by the Pickle Festival go back into the community. Money is given to the food center in Rosendale, the womens club, church groups and other local organizations.
"There are tons of volunteers working today, that this event could not happen without," Liggan said. Boy scouts, youth groups and local residents helped with parking and ticket selling. Cooperation with the Rosendale Fire Department and Police Department makes things run smoothly.
"I heard about this unique event and thought it sounded neat," said SUNY New Paltz student Megan Dubinsky, "It was a lot bigger than I expected and I am having a good time and will definitely come back next year."