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The Pickle : Celebrating the Pickle at the Pickelfest
Fests including Octoberfest
Yes, Picklefest. Every November there's a Picklefest in the town of Rosendale, Ulster County, New York. Dictionary.com defines fest as a gathering of people engaged in a common activity. The most well known fest is the Octoberfest. Most likely the Octoberfest is what started all other fests.
The Octoberfest, also spelled Oktoberfest, began in 1810. The first Oktoberfest was a celebration of the wedding of King Ludwig the first to Princess Theresa of Bavaria. The 'festival' was such a hit it was eventually stretched to sixteen days and moved to September for better weather. In the 19th century dance floors, trees for climbing and beer booths were added. Oktoberfest beer has a higher alcohol and sugar content than regular German beer and leads to a lot of drunkenness among young people in Germany. Also in Germany there is 'quiet' Oktoberfest when only traditional German music is played. Quiet Oktoberfest ends at 6:00 p.m. rock or its likeness is played after that. The German Oktoberfest is known as the largest 'fest' in the world. (Wikipedia)
Since the German Oktoberfest, there have been other Oktoberfest's throughout the world including here in Ulster County. The biggest and most authentic is held at Belleayre Mountain, actually in October. It doesn't run for the sixteen days German Oktoberfest does.
What about other fests in New York? There's a Winter Fest in January in Carmel, NY, a Maple Fest in Ashokan in March, Belleayre Music Festival held on the Mountain every summer, a Mountain Bike Festival in Wawarsing in July, the Rosendale Street Festival also held in July, and I know there are many more but this gives you a flavor of Ulster County and its festivals. But what of the Pickle Festival?
The Pickle Fest
What is a Pickle Festival? Why have a Pickle Festival? How did it start? Lucky for you I'm here to answer those burning questions.
The first thing you should know is the Pickle Festival will be celebrating it's 16th year in November 2012. The Rosendale International, yes, International, Pickle Festival began in 1998. A lovely Japanese lady who had been visiting the area (and was entertained by my sister-in-law Cookie and held a traditional Japanese tea party at her house, after landing a helicopter in her yard) said she would like to have a "pickle party". So a local, Billy Brooks together with help from the Chamber of Commerce and area residents put together a "pickle party". You must realize our Billy Brooks is quite the entrepreneur, owning our local Barber Shop for over forty years. This wasn't a challenge for Bill but something great to do.
Over 1,000 people attended the pickle party. And what a party it was! There were pickles, pickling spices, Japanese pickles and more pickling and the Japanese graciously demonstrated how their tea ceremony was held.
The next year the Pickle Festival added a German flavor with German pickles and Shupplattler dancers. In the year 2000 Mt. Olive Pickle and Vlasic Pickles joined the party. The Pickle Juice Drinking Contest began and was soon a popular event.
In 2002 over 4,000 pickle fans attended the festival. The festival was now under the big top. It had been moved to outside tents, even in November in the northeast but the cold didn't deter the crowds. Actually the crowds helped keep you warm. Added to the festival were pickle pizza, deep fried pickles, corned beef and cabbage, sauerbraten, maple syrup...the fest continued to expand and offer a large variety of food...not just pickles anymore. As the fest expanded so did it's notoriety and attendance.
Current Pickle Fest
The Pickle Fest now attracts well over 5,000 people from all over the world. The Japanese are still a part of the fest as are the German dancers and cooks, together with many other nationalities and their representatives. New vendors show up every year. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have joined in to sell some of their wonderful handmade wares, there are knitted items, blankets, a really interesting variety of wares with the pickle still at the center of it all.
You can buy anything from a plain pickle to a pickle hat! Live music and dancing go on throughout the fest.
The Pickle Fest is going strong and getting bigger every year. Seriously, if you haven't eaten a fried pickle you haven't eaten a pickle! They are really delicious. I don't know about drinking pickle juice but then there's always something for everyone, it's just a matter of taste.
If you're ever in Ulster County in November, check out the Picklefest in Rosendale. Can't make it? What about September for the Saugerties Garlic Festival? That's another hub!
Rosendale, New York, Home of the Pickelfest
Fried Pickle Recipe from Cooks.com
- 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 egg yolk, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 cup ice water, 2 tbsp. dill pickle juice, 8 medium-large pickles, sliced, 4 cups drained pickles, oil for frying.
- Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add water, egg yolk, and dill pickle juice at the same time. Stir until smooth. Cover bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in deep fryer. Dip pickles in batter to coat eveyly and fry.
Another Fried Pickle Recipe from Cooks.com
1. FRIED DILL PICKLES 1 sm. can evaporated milk1/4 c. sweet milk2 eggsA little flourDill pickles
2. Make batter of milk, eggs. Dip pickles in batter and roll in flour; deep fry. For sauce, use French horseradish mustard, mayonnaise and garlic salt to taste.
More fried dill pickle recipes at Cooks.com
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