Organizers of the 2020 North Carolina Pickle Festival today announced the cancellation of the event, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
“This grieves us deeply, because the festival is so much fun, and it just brings out the best in all of us,” said Lynn Williams, festival co-chairman.
“But we also believe the health and well-being of the people of our community and all those who participate in the festival are what’s truly important.”
Originally set for April 24-25, the award-winning festival draws tens of thousands to downtown Mount Olive each year. This marks the first cancellation in the festival’s 34-year history.
“While disappointing, we support the Pickle Festival’s decision and appreciate the thought that went into it,” said Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown. “We offered our wholehearted support for the festival in 2020, and now we look forward to a successful festival in April 2021.”
Ms. Williams and fellow co-chair Julie Beck discussed the options with key sponsors, the Town of Mount Olive, and the pickle festival’s board of directors.
“We came to a consensus pretty quickly that we should not hold the festival in April,” Ms. Beck said. “That’s just six weeks away and there’s so much uncertainty today with the coronavirus.
“So the question became could we hold it six months from now? Could we simply postpone it and have it later in the year?
“We realized we had reservations about our ability to reschedule vendors, entertainers, and special attractions on a Saturday in the busy fall festival season. We also anticipated conflicts with many local fall events.”
Ms. Williams noted the timing of a fall event would mean producing two festivals essentially in a six-month period – fall 2020 and April 2021. That, she said, would be difficult.
“In the end, we felt canceling was the right thing to do,” Ms. Williams said.