People Packed Into The 43rd Annual Pickle Festival

Written by Biwen Liu.

The aroma of pickles and the bright sunshine was too tempting for pickle lovers Saturday as they gathered for the 43rd Annual Pickle Festival at Gardiner Farm in Huntington.

“We want it to turn into a fun day for everyone to enjoy,” said former festival director Deanne Rathke. “We have a little exhibit on the early pickle industry and some of the farmers that grew the pickles here, and it’s also for the Historical Association as a fundraiser.”

The festival, brought in conjunction with the Greenlawn/Centerport Historical Association, revolves around the heritage of the early pickle industry in Greenlawn, which thrived in the area a century ago, Rathke said.

The event brought out the crowds as people reported on social media that there was over an hour wait to get into the festival at one point.

“This is the busiest year, but it’s good to see the community come out, people are so excited to be here which is always fun,” said Sam Fankhauser, Rathke’s daughter who has attended the Pickle Festival as a volunteer 21 times.

Sample pickle slices were just a few steps away from the entrance gates where you were greeted with live music and various pickle booths. From half-sour to honey mustard, there were many flavors to choose from. If you are a spicy type of person, you could try the spicy sour and jalapeño flavors.

If you were looking for some different kind of fun, there was a train and hayride for families and adults of all ages. There were also autumn decorations, jewelry, snacks, and even spiced wine to purchase. 

Mae Roren, who was working the Horman’s Best Pickles booth, recommended the normal plain and Kosher flavors of pickles. 

“It’s my first time here, and it’s amazing,” said Nicole Levi, who also harvested a lot of pickles at the festival. “I thought there would be more pickles, but it’s still pretty cool. I’m from New Jersey, so I’ve never seen anything like this. And the pickle is sour, I like it.”

The 43rd Annual Pickle Festival proved to be a delightful blend of heritage, history, and the simple joy of savoring pickles. Nothing sour about that.

Biwen Liu is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.

For more photos from the 43rd Annual Pickle Festival, just keep scrolling!

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