In true 2020 fashion, a live, in-person New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop will not be held in Mount Olive this year. But pickle fans everywhere will still be able to watch a pickle drop come December 31.
Plans are to air a 30-minute webcast that compiles highlights of previous Pickle Drop events in Mount Olive, with footage of the pickle’s descent timed for 7 o’clock sharp on New Year’s Eve.
Additionally, in keeping with the tradition of a canned food drive at the Pickle Drop, the company is launching a virtual food drive from now through January 6. The fundraising goal is $5,000, and Mt. Olive Pickle will match that amount. The funds will benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
“While we will celebrate the New Year around our computer screens this year instead of in the presence of a few thousand other pickle fans, that doesn’t mean we still can’t have a bit of fun and do some good in the process,” said Lynn Williams, Mt. Olive’s public relations manager.
Held for the first 19 years at the company’s Mount Olive headquarters – at the Corner of Cucumber & Vine – the pickle descended the company’s 45-foot flagpole into a redwood pickle tank.
The 20th annual event in 2019 was held at the University of Mount Olive, where the pickle descended from the Mount Olive Fire Department’s tower truck and a fireworks display ended the evening.
For all of those years – and for the virtual webcast this year – the pickle will drop at precisely 7 o’clock. The company jokes that 7 o’clock EST is actually midnight Greenwich Mean Time, which makes the whole thing “official,” if early. The 2020 webcast, at www.mtolivepickles.com, will start at 6:35 p.m. and end at 7:05 on New Year’s Eve.
While a food drive has been a part of the pickle drop tradition since the very first public event in 2001, this year’s virtual food drive, in the context of the COVID19 pandemic, takes on a different urgency. In the first four months of the pandemic, Food Bank spent $2.3 million purchasing food, which is more than twice its annual food purchase budget.
“The pandemic has placed so many more families in economic crisis, and the Food Bank has experienced a 38% increase in need,” Ms. Williams said. “We are always grateful for the generosity of people who attend the pickle drop each year, and so now we are calling on a broader range of pickle fans to join in and help.”
Online donations can be made to Food Bank through a virtual food drive website at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mt-olive-pickle-company, and at www.mtolivepickles.com.
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and its 900 partner agencies serve 34 counties. It distributed the equivalent of 75 million meals in its last fiscal year, which included the first four months of the pandemic. Mt. Olive’s relationship with Food Bank extends to the first year the Food Bank opened in 1980.