Picklesburgh- the first time I heard the name I was shocked. Pittsburgh devotes an entire weekend to pickle consumption on the Rachel Carson Bridge? Today was my first experience at such a festival along with some of the Post-Gazette interns, and I have to say, it was magnificent.
This is only the festival's second year in Pittsburgh, yet crowds gathered quickly as a band played at the entrance to the bridge.
The most striking feature of the festival was of course the giant Heinz pickle balloon strung up above the bridge. Below it were endless vendors selling their pickle-related food and drinks. The first stop for us, well pierogies of course. I had gone to the tent under the assumption there would be pickle-related pierogies; however, they were more traditional.
I later learned from the event's website that pierogies were incorporated because when made with sauerkraut, they involve pickling.
We then passed many other booths with pickle goods. One vendor had an assortment of pickle purses available. Toward the end of the bridge was where the real competition began. It was the contest between Heinz's new pickle flavors- Sweet and Spicy and Spicy Garlic.
After testing each flavor one was able to vote and receive a sticker designating which flavor they voted for. There were also pickle sponges and pins available. A man holding a sign encouraging the crowd to vote got several people engaged.
"Vote for pickles, vote for what matters," the man yelled as the crowd laughed in response.
I personally did not taste the pickles, as not being a huge pickle fan, neither flavor sounded appetizing to me. However, Post-Gazette interns Lily Oppenheimer and Maddy Kennedy tested them out. Oppenheimer went into the experience disliking pickles but emerged voting for Spicy Garlic. Kennedy on the other hand chose Sweet and Spicy.
The last stop on the bridge was the merchandise tent. They sell everything from pickle T-shirts to pickle balloons. The balloons cost a whopping $8. Was is worth it? Oppenheimer seems to think so.
The newest addition to the office. (Kaitlin O'Dougherty/Post-Gazette)
The festival continues today until 10 pm. and will pick back up again tomorrow from 12 to 10 p.m.