MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. (WNCT) — Hundreds of people attended the 20th annual New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop in Mount Olive Tuesday evening.
Those who attended were encouraged to bring a few things with them: canned food donations for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and their own chairs.
The Mount Olive New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop was held at 7 p.m. — which is midnight GMT — in front of the University of Mount Olive’s Kornegay Arena.
Live music started at 5:30 p.m., and the glowing pickle descended from the Mount Olive Fire Department’s tower truck at the stroke of 7 p.m.
A fireworks display followed.
A canned food drive was a part of the pickle drop since the very first public event in 2001, said Lynn Williams, public relations manager for the Mt. Olive Pickle Company.
“We are happy to support the work of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, and we are grateful for the generosity of those who attend the pickle drop each year,” she said.
For the first time, people are also encouraged to bring their own chairs.
“When we first started the pickle drop, the whole event ran for about an hour. More recently, we started the live music a little earlier, at 5:30. This year we will add the fireworks to celebrate our 20th anniversary, and that stretches out the pickle drop about 10 minutes longer than normal. So we think people attending the drop may want to have a chair handy.”
While the 20th annual event for 2019 won’t be held at the actual Corner of Cucumber and Vine – a major construction project at the company’s main plant precluded having it there – the new location at the University of Mount Olive creates opportunities for several new twists.
“We are excited to be able to have a fireworks display for our 20th event,” Ms. Williams said. “And the university location affords us some room to have several food trucks on-site for the first time as well.”
The New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop, first held and attended in 1999 by a handful of Mt. Olive Pickle employees, annually draws several thousand.
In addition to the fireworks and food trucks, the evening includes the staples that have been a hallmark of the event for years: line dancing, free pickles, cookies, and hot chocolate, and the canned food drive. Those bringing canned food or making a financial contribution receive a chance to win door prizes from the Mt. Olive Pickle Company gift shop at the evening’s end. The grand prize is a pool pickle similar to the one dropped.
And, even though the fireworks will extend the event by a few minutes, the pickle drop will still be over well before 7:30 p.m., Williams said.
“That’s been the best part of it for 20 years: it’s early, it’s quick, and it’s just a lot of fun.”
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