That first year we hoped 200 people would come for our highlighting of Japan, but more than 1000 did. Who knew that Pickles were so popular! Since then Pickle Fest seems to have taken on a life of it’s own.
The trend continued for Pickle Fest ’99 when we celebrated the German Pickling traditions and attendance doubled. Emil Hiler, the roaming accordionist and Shupplattler Dancers along with other strolling musicians added to the festivities.
In 2000 we joined with Mt. Olive and Vlassic Pickle companies helping with some great flavors as free tastings and door prizes. From sushi to sauerbraten, with kimonos and lederhosen there was something for everyone. In addition to the Kids Pickle Coloring Contest, and Pickle Balloons, come enter the Pickle Juice Drinking Contest or the Pickle Toss. We even had appearances by the piccolo, the Official Instrument of the Pickle Fest.
We have had inquiries from as far away as India, Bosnia, and Lebanon. We have had entries from Kansas, Manhattan, North Carolina and New Jersey, to right around the corner in New Paltz, Kingston, Ellenville and Saugerties. As we go on, we add new countries and cultures to experience and have a Pickly Good Time.
In 2002, our Host the Rosendale Recreation Center, was being replaced. We had to adjust, and we found ourselves “Under the Big Top”. And come they did, over 4000 Pickle fans and their families. We had over 12,000 sq. ft. of vendors, all styles of flavored cucumber pickles, pickled peppers, tomatoes, okra, asparagus, beans, and many more vegetables and fruits. Zachary’s Deep Fried Pickles, Vinny’s Pickle Pizza, cheesecakes (none Pickle flavor), the Hibernian’s delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage, sweet Maple Syrup and candies, Manny & Scott’s Sauerbraten, all of them tempted your taste buds.
The new Rosendale Recreation Center saw its biggest crowd, almost 5000, since it opened with the 6th Rosendale Pickle Festival, once again graced by the ever gracious Japanese Dance Group. Senegalese and West African Drummers gave everyone a great show of their music. Who does not love Emil Hiler, the best German Accordionist around, accompanying the Schupplattler Dancers?
The freshest sushi Rosendale has EVER had was on hand to compliment the wonderful Traditional Japanese Dancers, along with other great pickled products, Pickle paraphernalia, shirts, tote bags, Dilli Chili, and MORE!
Let your mouth celebrate, tell us the best and worst of your Pickled Delights, come let your tastebuds be the judge at the Rosendale International Pickle Festival.
Bill and Cathy Brooks
Founders of The Rosendale International Pickle Festival
In 2013 the Rosendale Chamber of Commerce merged with the Pickle Festival. The board members that joined Bill and Cathy Brooks (who were running it out of their living room) were Chamber President Sara McGinty, Vice President Doug Motel, Treasurer Ben Shor, Bill Brooks, Victoria Coyne, Sue Constable, Billy Liggan, Anita Peck, and Tim Allred. The Chamber’s administrative assistant, Laurie Giardino became the vendor coordinator and digitized the application process.
In 2020 the Rosendale Chamber of Commerce and The Rosendale International Pickle Festival began to function as separate nonprofit entities. Organizing members of the Pickle Fest committee are Victoria Coyne, Bill Brooks, Sue Constable, Billy Liggan, Sara McGinty, Bernie Obry, Jill Obry, and vendor coordinator, Laurie Giardino.
In 2020 & 2021
The 23rd & 24th Annual Rosendale International Pickle Festivals were cancelled. We closely monitored the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). As the situation changed rapidly, our top priority remained the health, safety, and well-being of our community. We hoped to continue our annual tradition of celebrating pickles, food, crafts, music, family and friends but given the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks and America’s stay-at-home orders, we made the difficult decision to cancel two years of festivals.
In order to maintain our 23rd & 24th Annual status, to spite the festival cancellations, the Pickle Festival organizing committee met both years at the pickle pavilion. We gathered in our masks, socially distanced, and ate pickles among the ghosts of tents, vendors and visitors.
Giving Back to the Community
- Bloomington Fire Company, Ladies Auxillary Commitment to Kids Annual Holiday Toy Drive
- Rondout Valley High School Scholarship
- Rosendale Food Pantry
- Rosendale Library
- Rosendale Main Street trash and recycle bins
- Rosendale Rec Center swimming pool and building improvements
- Rosendale Street Festival
- Rosendale Theatre Collective
- Rosendale Youth Center
- Bill & Cathy Brooks, Pickle Fest King & Queen
- Billy, Linda & Breanna Liggan, Pickle Fest Directors of Awe-Inspiring Feats
- Victoria Coyne, Pickle Fest Ringleader of Creative Operations
- Sue Constable, Pickle Fest Oracle of Inspiration
- Sara McGinty, Pickle Fest Keeper of the Vendor Gate
- Anita Williams Peck, Pickle Fest Voice of Reason
- Laurie Giardino, Pickle Fest Director of Adventure Operations
- Kerri Vitek, Pickle Fest Digital Sorceress
- Carl Cox, Pickle Fest Chief Photographer Ninja
- Carl Welden, Pickle Fest Maestro of Mayhem
- Carrie Wycoff, Pickle Fest Director of Entertainment Fulfillment
- Doug Motel, Pickle Fest Head Game Guy
- Bernie & Jill Obry, Pickling Contest Tutelary Guardians
Anita Peck, Rosendale Chamber of Commerce Board Member and Pickle Fest Organizer
June 5, 1940 – January 26, 2019
For over 10 years, Anita Peck was the first person people saw when they entered the Picklefest — they saw a welcoming smile and outstretched hand (for the entry fee, please!). She always insisted on working the entire day and preparing the final bank deposit. That’s when the fun work of debating how to give away the proceeds would start.
Anita was the original one-woman Ulster County booster club, passionately committed to our community and especially to our kids and schools. She opened her home to our meetings (love those M&M’s, Anita!), but more important, she opened her heart to all of us who live in the place she loved.We already miss you so much, Anita. As we decide how to donate the proceeds of future year’s Picklefest, we will guide ourselves by memories of your generous spirit and open heart.