Rosendale is a small New York town with a big love for pickles -- Rosendale plays host to the annual International Pickle Festival. The IPF features loads of food, entertainment, music and contests, and of course, pickles. The International Pickle Festival began with a small display of Japanese culinary items, and has since expanded to all manner of showcasing pickles.
The International Pickle Festival began as a small request. In 1998, Eri Yamaguchi told her Rosendale friends that she wanted to have a "pickle party." Without seeking further elaboration, her friends threw the first pickle festival two months later. The festival showcased Japanese pickled foods and a traditional tea ceremony. Over 1,000 people attended the first International Pickle Festival; current turnouts top 5,000, an impressive feat for a town with a population of only 6,000.
The International Pickle Festival has three popular contests. The traditional Pickle Eating Contest pits pickle lovers against each other in a race against time. For braver patrons, the Pickle Juice Drinking Contest, which directly follows the eating contest, arms contestants with a straw and a jar of pickle juice. Finally, the Pickle Toss involves launching pickles into the mouth of a partner. For farmers and pickle cultivators, there's also the Pickle Judging Contest in which prizes are awarded to the best-tasting pickled goods.
Entertainment and Music
The international aspect of the Pickle Festival is highlighted in the entertainment. Performers play bagpipes and traditional German folk music. A roaming German accordionist wanders around the festival grounds entertaining the crowd. The IPF also features traditional dance routines from German and Japanese dance troupes. Traditional Senegalese dancers and other entertainment periodically graces IPF as well.
The International Pickle Festival teamed up with Mt. Olive and Vlasic in 2000. Both pickle companies contribute free prizes and door prizes, as well as help the IPF come up with new ideas for the pickle festival. The festival is officially sponsored by the Rosendale Chamber of Commerce and hosted in the Rosendale Community Center for one day each November.
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