Award-Winning Festival Doubles Up for 2019
The countdown to Picklesburgh 2019 is on, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever for its fifth year. The must-visit destination for all things pickled was voted the #1 Specialty Food Festival in America in the latest USA Today reader’s poll and is doubling in size with even more to be pickled about! Presented by Kraft Heinz and produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), Picklesburgh is a culinary and cultural celebration that goes beyond the dill pickle that is so beloved by the Pittsburgh region. With its signature giant Heinz pickle balloon floating above the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the festival will be open Friday, July 26 and Saturday July 27, from noon – 10:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 28 from noon to 6:00 p.m. with free admission.
Picklesburgh will be twice as big this year, spanning from the Roberto Clemente Bridge to the riverside lanes of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard between Stanwix and 7th Streets, in order to better accommodate the enthusiastic crowds it attracts. This expansion allows for more vendors with larger booths to provide better access to a wider range of creative, quirky, and handcrafted pickle products. New seating and table areas will make it easier to enjoy the diverse selection of ready-to-eat and drink offerings from some of the most respected local restaurants, as well as from pickle purveyors from as far away as New York City.
The fun at Picklesburgh extends beyond the dill-ectable products and foods. The farm-to-table movement has been one factor in the rising popularity of DIY canning, and festival goers can explore the surprisingly varied world of home pickling with informative how-to lessons at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Demo area. Children, meanwhile, can create their own souvenir arts & craft projects in the Li’l Gherkins KidsPlay area. Plus, dozens of the area’s most talented musicians will perform on the Jim Shorkey Auto main stage, which is moving to Ft. Duquesne Blvd with adjacent riverside seating. Then, visitors will have twice as many opportunities to cheer on combatants seeking to be crowned the new Mayor of Picklesburgh in the fiercely-fought Pickle Juice Drinking Contest, presented by Pittsburgh Pickle Company.
“We were honored to be chosen as USA Today’s #1 Specialty Food Festival and the spotlight it shines on our beautiful city,” Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Picklesburgh Downtown Partnership commented. “As a signature event for the state of Pennsylvania, Picklesburgh attracts tourists from near and far and is an exceptional way to highlight all of what Downtown Pittsburgh has to offer as a destination including food, fun, and of course, pickles!”
A Foodie’s Pickle Paradise
The quirky spirit of Picklesburgh is reflected in creative culinary creations from chefs, farmers, and picklers who hail from across the region and beyond, some traveling hundreds of miles to participate in what has become the premiere pickle event in the country. Both pickle fanatics and the pickle curious can relish everything from small-batch pickled vegetables and chef-driven house-cured ingredients to unexpected combinations like the first-ever chocolate covered pickle Oreo and new pickle cheeseburger pierogis. And, of course, there will be plenty of non-pickled options for those who aren’t as eager to pucker their palates.
To quench your thirst, Picklesburgh is bringing back a greatly increased supply of several pickle inspired libations such as Wigle Whiskey’s Eau de Pickle, which won a 2019 National Innovation Award from the American Craft Spirits Association. Additionally, more quantities will be available of the limited edition pickle beers from Southern Tier Brewing and Great Lakes Brewery that sold out last year on the first day of the festival.
Music, Merch, and KidsPlay
Beyond the pickled food and drink, there is still plenty more to see and do at Picklesburgh. Pickle themed merchandise includes playful pickle apparel, accessories, jewelry, and home décor. As part of the PDP’s Downtown Sound initiative, local bands from across the musical spectrum will perform on the event’s main stage, presented by Jim Shorkey Auto. A full stage lineup and schedule will be announced in mid-July. For some creative pickle-themed arts & crafts, children will want to stop by the “Li’l Gherkins Kidsplay” area, which operates until 7:00pm on Friday and Saturday, and 6:00pm on Sunday when the festival comes to a close.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Demo Tent
Home canning and pickling is increasingly popular and easy, and Picklesburgh will once again include a Demo Area presented by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that includes simple how-to lessons by chefs, vendors, and experts like Pittsburgh-Post Gazette food writer Gretchen McKay. Demonstrations will be presented all three days of the festival and will feature a broad range of DIY recipes ranging from the simple home pickling of traditional favorites like cucumbers, dilly beans, kimchi, and watermelon rinds, to creating fruit shrubs for creative cocktailing.
No-Holds-Barred Pickle Juice Drinking Contest
Think you can drink a quart of pickle juice fastest without spilling – and keep it down? You could be the next Mayor of Picklesburgh and walk away with a $500 grand prize! This year’s hotly contested Pickle Juice Drinking Contest is presented by the Pittsburgh Pickle Company and will be expanded to twice as many preliminary rounds on both Friday and Saturday culminating in a championship round on Sunday, hosted by the team from YaJagoff! Podcast. Advance registration will open shortly, with sign-up information to be announced on the PDP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. Advanced registration is encouraged, although there are typically also a limited number of competition slots available prior to each preliminary round, with sign-up drawings on site for each available space.
Established in 2015, Picklesburgh is brought to you by the Pittsburgh Picklesburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), a non-profit organization that develops and implements innovative programs, economic development initiatives, and provides transportation advocacy to enhance the Downtown neighborhood. Events include some of Pittsburgh’s most successful and imaginative events such as Comcast Light Up Night, the Market Square Farmers Market, Night Markets, Yoga in the Square, and the Peoples Gas Holiday Market.