That first year, in 1997, 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 international 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 building, 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 taste buds be the judge at the Rosendale International Pickle Festival.
Bill and Cathy Brooks
Founders of The Rosendale International Pickle Festival
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.
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 began with Victoria Coyne, Bill Brooks, Sue Constable, Billy Liggan, Sara McGinty, Bernie Obry, Jill Obry, and vendor coordinator, Laurie Giardino.
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.
We celebrated our last year in Rosendale. We had to leave our beloved Rosendale because after 24 years, we weren’t allowed to park on the grassy fields at the Rec Center anymore. This caused much congestion and the parking lot only allowed space for handicap and vendors, therefore just about all 4,000 visitors were rerouted to offsite, shuttle parking. A decision was made to move the 2023 Pickle Festival to the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz.