The wait is nearly over for pickle enthusiasts as Picklesburgh returns bigger than ever for its sixth year. The must-visit destination for all things pickled was twice voted the #1 Specialty Food Festival in America via a USA Today reader’s poll, and this year will be nothing to brine about!
Presented by Kraft Heinz and produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), Picklesburgh is a culinary and cultural celebration that goes far beyond the dill pickle and is keenly attended by those from the Pittsburgh region and far beyond. With its signature giant 35’ Heinz pickle balloon floating above the Andy Warhol (7th Street) Bridge this year, the festival will be open Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21 from noon – 10:00 p.m., and Sunday, August 22 from noon to 6:00 p.m. As always, admission is free.
“We’re excited to bring back this signature Pittsburgh event at a new date and location,” said Jeremy Waldrup, PDP’s President and CEO. “We know that everyone, from near and far, is excited for Picklesburgh. We’ve adjusted the layout so it’s a little easier for festival-goers to linger, enjoy their food, listen to music, and truly relish the energy of this unique event. Whether you’re a pickle pro or just a dill dabbler, there’s going to be a ton of fun experiences for you here in Downtown.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the PDP to sponsor Pittsburgh’s annual Picklesburgh festival again this year,” said Steve Cornell, Kraft Heinz President – Enhancers, Speciality and Away from Home. “Heinz and pickles are synonymous with Pittsburgh and we couldn’t be prouder of our Company’s rich history in the city and this amazing event – it’s kind of a big dill.”
Picklesburgh will move to the Andy Warhol (7th Street) Bridge this year, with the primary entrance located at 7th Street and Ft. Duquesne Boulevard. To reduce congestion on the bridge, due to the popularity of the festival, all prepared foods and happy hour artisan cocktails will be located along Ft. Duquesne Boulevard between Stanwix and 9th Street, allowing for more seating and space for foodies to enjoy the sweet and sour delights.
A Pickle Paradise for Plucky Palates
The quirky spirit of Picklesburgh is reflected in creative culinary creations from chefs, farmers, and picklers who hail from across the region, and beyond, to participate in what has become the premiere pickle event in the country. Everything from small-batch pickled vegetables and chef-driven house-cured ingredients to more unexpected combinations like bacon-wrapped and cheese stuffed pickles, kimchi grilled cheese, peanut butter pickle swirl fudge, dill pickle pierogies, dill pickle lemonade, and more. Of course, there will also be plenty of pickle-precluded options for those who aren’t quite as intrepid.
Picklesburgh is also bringing back pickle-permeated (or pickle-inspired) libations in 2021. There will be several bars offering pickle beer, craft brews, and refreshing sangria throughout the festival. Kick back with a handcrafted creative cocktail including a Pickle Paloma, PickleBerry Mule, Vodka Cucumber Refreshers, and Pickle Rita, starting with 5:00 p.m. happy hour on Friday and Saturday, and at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday on Friday. Additional treats like Wigle Whiskey’s award-winning Eau de Pickle spirit, as well as a variety of other limited-edition pickle cocktails, will also be available. A full listing of this year’s vendors can be found here.
Music, Merch & Free Heinz Pickle Pins
As part of the PDP’s Downtown Pittsburgh Sound initiative this year, Picklesburgh will offer two performance venues – the First National Bank Main Stage located on Ft. Duquesne Blvd, and a more intimate spotlight stage at the north end of the Andy Warhol Bridge. A diverse range of genres and styles will fuel a full line-up of local favorites including; Donora, Soulful Femme, Elias Khouri, Snowdonia, Miss Freddye, Isaiah Small, Pierce Dipner, KELS, Byron Nash, and Buckle Downs among others. A complete schedule of music will be announced in the coming days.
The fun at Picklesburgh extends well beyond the dill-ectable products and foods. Shop from a curated selection of fun festival merchandise including t-shirts, caps, backpacks, and souvenir Picklesburgh balloons, along with quirky pickle-themed goods and novelties from local makers and vendors. Plus, visitors should look under the giant pickle for ‘fun-on-the-tongue’ Heinz branded t-shirts, along with the perennial favorite – free Heinz pickle pins!
Can You Pucker Up for Pickle Juice?
Once again, visitors will also have a chance to cheer the chuggers seeking to take home the $500 grand prize and be crowned the new Mayor of Picklesburgh in the fiercely-fought Pickle Juice Drinking Contest. The contest is presented by Pittsburgh Pickle Company, and hosted by Pittsburgh’s popular YaJagoff! Podcast. Not for the faint of heart, this Pickle Juice Drinking Contest puts dill-icious drink devotees in the spotlight for some intense preliminary rounds on Friday and Saturday, culminating in a final no-brine-barred championship on Sunday.
Registration will be available shortly, with sign-up information to be announced on the PDP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. Advanced registration is highly encouraged as there are a limited number of competition slots available and previous years’ sign-ups have filled up quickly. Limited sign-up opportunities will be available on site.
Nothing to Pucker At: National Attention
The Picklesburgh festival, which launched in 2015, continues to build momentum and attract national and international attention. The event claimed a second consecutive victory as the #1 Best Specialty Food Festival in America, and has also been recognized as a ‘Signature Event’ of the Commonwealth by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. It is recognized globally as one of the most interesting food festivals in the world.
While Picklesburgh is an outdoor, open-air festival, the PDP is recommending that those who attend be fully vaccinated. If unvaccinated, a face mask or face covering will be required. Festival organizers will be continually monitoring health and safety guidelines set by the CDC, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny County Health Department, and will modify requirements as needed to ensure public safety. Attendees are encouraged to visit Picklesburgh.com/Safety for the most up-to-date health and safety precautions.
Picklesburgh Vendor List
Visit Picklesburgh.com/Vendors to view this year’s vendor listing.