If it’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving, it must be time for pickles. And not just your garden-variety cucumber dill and sweet pickles, but deep-fried pickles, chocolate-covered pickles, pickled jalapenos and pickle ice cream. No, this isn’t a new Thanksgiving dinner side dish, but Rosendale’s annual International Pickle Festival. This year’s event will be held at the Rosendale Recreation Center at 1055 Route 32 on Sunday, November 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $5 per person and is free for kids.
As many as 7,000 people are expected to attend the 18th annual affair. Rosendale Chamber of Commerce president Sara McGinty points out that this means the town’s population effectively doubles for the day. The Chamber has long assisted with the event, but this year more so than before in order to take some of the work off the shoulders of Pickle Festival founder Bill Brooks, who originated the event in 1998. Brooks is also the town historian of Rosendale.
There will be 85 vendors on-site with 20 of them devoted exclusively to pickle products. The remaining vendors include 35 selling other food products, with the rest artists and craftspeople. This year they’re emphasizing the local economy in the selection of vendors, says McGinty, with a lot of new faces from the Hudson Valley joining the festival. The pickle producers come from all over, but there was a definite effort made to bring in local producers of handcrafts and specialty foods.
The emphasis is on the pickles and the food, but there will also be contests of various sorts – pickle-judging, pickle-juice-drinking, pickle-tossing in teams – and live entertainment, including the Rosendale Main Street Improvement Association Brass Band and Social Club and the Gold Hope Duo featuring Lara Hope. Rosendale’s own hula-hoop performers, Centrifugal Force, will be on hand, as will Amadou Diallo, master drummer from Senegal, West Africa. Ample parking is available, but carpooling is suggested given the crowds expected.
Funds raised always go right back into the Rosendale community, says McGinty. In past years the festival has benefited the Pool Fund, Wallkill Valley Land Trust for the trestle, Rosendale Theatre, local Lions Club, Boy Scouts, Food Pantry, Little League, Rosendale Youth Center and Rosendale Library, among others.
Rosendale International Pickle Festival, Sunday, November 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $5, Rosendale Recreation Center, 1055 Route 32, Rosendale; (845) 204-8827, https://rosendalechamber.org/pickle-festival.