Mt. Olive Picklefest – Serena Packs a Pickle



DATES: April 24-25, 2010     

NEXT YEARS DATES: April 22-24 2011

LOCATION: Mt Olive, North Carolina

POPULATION: 4,410 (2000 census)

TOWN AREA: 2.5 square miles (all land)

Features: Picking packing contest, Farm animal races (pig, duck, goat), free pickles, BMX stunt show, car show, live music, mechanical bull rides, pony rides, free pickles all day

When you tell someone you are going to a pickle festival you get strange looks and it doesn’t get any better when you mention there will be a pickle packing contest. Despite the imagery we didn’t see any rainbow flags, tall women with large adams apples or men strutting the streets in assless chaps. The Mt. Olive Pickle Festival was a small town festival highlighting local art, food vendors straddling the main strip and pickles (the veggie).  Serena took a ride on the mechanical bull and was knocked out in the first second of the first round (she gets props for the effort). Serena and I also went head to head in the pickle packing contest in which we had to pack three jars with pickles as fast as we could then tap a bell. Serena was the first to tap the bell and was the apparent winner until we later took a look at the pictures and realized someone cheated and tapped the bell before filling a jar. I did not challenge the win with the International Pickle Packing Commission because quite frankly I didn’t want the title of pickle packing champion anyway.


Although the small town of Mt Olive is only 2.5 square miles and has the population of a small private college, it is home to the nation’s number two seller of pickle products, Mt Olive Pickle Company. The MOPC was founded in 1926 by a Lebanese immigrant and a sailor from Wilmington, NC (so there is hope for me after all). The MOPC is a classic American story of two people with an idea that initially didn’t do so hot but they used old fashion American grit to go from 3,600 square foot plant/ one acre of land to 970,000 square foot plant/ 970 acres of total land.


The turn of the century style homes lining the streets on the way to the festival and the vintage look of the store fronts lining Main Street (our favorite was “Ficken-Blackwelder Insurance & Realty” with the deer head in the window) gave this festival a good small town America feel. Some of the activities were fun (ask Serena about the bull riding) and the farm animal races were pretty amusing. There is nothing like seeing a little piggy running around to get me in the mood for some bacon bits. The food was standard festival fare. Although they gave out free pickles we were a little disappointed to find no fried pickles or other pickle based food.

Serena and the greatest mullet (aka Kentucky Waterfall) we saw all day

Get a house, insurance and pet a deer head all in one place.

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Categories: Adventures of Him and Her, Events, Travel


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4 Comments on “Mt. Olive Picklefest – Serena Packs a Pickle”

  1. Jan
    June 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Yep, you get the best at these small town festivals. My Mom and Sis and I went to the Scapoose, Oregon, Sauerkraut Festival one year. There was a semi-truck full of gigantic heads of cabbage, among other awe-inspiring sights.

    • Toriano's "La Buena Vida"
      June 27, 2010 at 7:59 am #

      I hear ya….summer time is great for these festivals. I didn’t realize how many things go on every weekend until I started looking. We have a bunch we want to hit this summer. I bet there are some good ones out west. If you hit any good ones out west take some pictures and post them on the Facebook page!/pages/Torianos-La-Buena-Vida/257082890431


  1. Ham and Yam Festival – More Pork Please « Toriano's "La Buena Vida" - May 21, 2010

    […] some ways this festival was much like the Mt. Olive Picklefest (but we felt the Picklefest was much better) that we attended the previous weekend, we even saw the […]

  2. APRIL FAIRS, FESTIVALS AND OTHER REASONS TO STUFF YOUR FACE | Toriano's "La Buena Vida" - April 2, 2011

    […] is the Mt Olive Pickle Festival in Mt. Olive, we went last year and had a pretty good time (click here for pickle post). Well hope in the car and enjoy the food, weather and post picks here: April 02, 2011   Bull […]

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