by William Holloman
North Carolina Pickle Festival 2018, the 32nd annual event, is another on the books now, and officials again called it “bigger and better than ever before.”
Festival co-chair Lynn Williams, Mount Olive Mayor Joe Scott, and town manager Charles Brown agreed the weekend event drew another record crowd, and credit years of experience and excellent weather as reasons.
Ms. Williams said, “This is certainly one of our biggest festivals, if not the biggest.”
She called the weather gorgeous and said, “We have not had this kind of weather in several years, both Friday night and all day Saturday. We are really excited.”
She credited improving promotional efforts in attracting people from out of state.
“Things are really falling in place,” she said.
She credited the media and the social media in helping spread the word.
“It is amazing to see where folks come from,” Ms. Williams said.
She was asked to sum it all up in one sentence and said, “This is one of the most dill-lightful pickle festivals ever.”
She said as usual the car show by the Wayne County Cruisers Club was a major attraction.
She said all the other attractions focus on the theme ‘family event’ and it attracts all ages.
“We have lots of different things for people of all ages,” said Ms. Williams.
She said there were no big problems.
“This is probably the smoothest festival ever. We have been doing this a long time and there are always things we can do better. We are now seeing the success from what we have built in the past,” she added.
“I have got to say that God smiled down on Mount Olive with absolutely beautiful weather and there is a crowd here,” said Mayor Joe Scott as he slowed down from making his way through wall to wall people.
He said he met people from Canada, New York, Massachusetts, and right on down to Florida.
He said the folks from Canada and elsewhere told them they heard about the festival and drove all the way here to see it for themselves.
Co-chair Ms. Williams said that is “amazing.”
“That really tells you a lot, and they are here only for the festival and not here because they are related to someone,” Mayor Scott said.
He went on to say, “I think it is great. Everybody is having fun and they feel that home town tradition here. A couple from New Bern stopped by the town’s booth and said they wish they had something like this.”
Mayor Scott said about the only issue he encountered was on Friday night when the bands had to close down.
“Folks wanted them to stay and rock and roll all night,” he said.
“I would say just from walking up and down Center Street another record crowd would be accurate and the weather obviously could not have been any better,” said town manager Charles Brown.
He explained further in saying, “Every year we prepare and prepare and every year we get better and better at it. We are pretty much at the point now that we are relatively problem free.”
Brown said there was a huge Friday night crowd and everyone had a big time with the bands playing. “This has been a great crowd and everybody is having a huge time.”
The town manager said the awards the festival earns year after year and the explosion in regional exposure contribute tremendously to the success of the festival.
“Knock on wood,” Brown said, “We have not had any problems.”
“We over prepare now and it results in everything running smoothly,” Brown said.
He said he wanted to thank all of the town employees for the work they put into making it another great festival.
“I also want to say thanks to the mayor and the entire town board for participating in the town booth; something I have never seen before,” Brown said.
He said the festival committee and co-chairs Julie Beck and Lynn Williams did an outstanding job as usual.
Brown summed up this year’s festival “a win, win situation for everyone.”