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North Carolina Pickle Festival Set for April 29

MOUNT OLIVE, NC—Break out your pickle costumes, your pickleball paddles, and your pickle appetites. The 37th North Carolina Pickle Festival returns to downtown Mount Olive on Saturday, April 29.

The traditional Friday night kick-off includes pay one price carnival rides from 5-9 pm, a live outdoor concert featuring Southern Trouble from 7-10 p.m., and the Cuke Patch 5-K Glow Run from 8-9 p.m. The festival main day on Saturday runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On the heels of a record-breaking event in 2022, this year’s Saturday festival will see an expanded footprint, more vendors, and new or expanded events.

“We learned a lot from 2022,” said Julie Beck, co-chairperson of the festival. “We planned for more people, but we had way more people than we planned for. Based on the feedback from festival goers, we are concentrating this year on making room for more vendors to minimize wait times, and highlighting all the pickle-related foods, items and activities to make them easier to find.”

Accommodating larger crowds also means providing more shuttles to downtown. The festival is adding a second park and ride location, at the Bobby Denning Shopping Center, in addition to the University of Mount Olive’s Kornegay Arena.

The highlight of the day, as always, is the pickle-eating contest at noon, and Ms. Beck said this year the contest will be presented on its own stage in front of the town’s 150th Anniversary History mural. Potential contestants can register online at the festival’s website,, for a chance to be among the 24 selected to compete.

Picture Caption:

Ollie and his friends square off for the annual mascot race again this year, but an hour later in the day. The race gets underway at 3 o’clock at the corner of Center and East James Streets.


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