Emma Polen | Layout Editor
A giant Heinz pickle balloon floats proudly over the pickle celebration, an apparent symbol of the event’s beginnings.
This past week, Aug. 20-22, the Andy Warhol Bridge hosted one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic city events: Picklesburgh.
Picklesburgh began in 2015, but the Pittsburgh community has been serving the world pickles for much longer. H.J. Heinz began his business in canned goods in the 1860s. Since then, Heinz’ products have expanded. However, Pittsburghers never forgot where it all started. The three-day-long pickle celebration takes place just down the street from the old Heinz factory-turned-museum.
Kylie Nucitelli, a second-year Physicians’ Assistant student, attended Picklesburgh for the first time this year. This event can be intense for some newcomers, but Nucitelli said, “If that is what the Pittsburgh vibe is then I am absolutely in love with it.”
Nucitelli is not originally from the Pittsburgh area. Picklesburgh was truly her first impression of the Pittsburgh community since her freshman year was restricted by Covid-19. Really, nothing says “Pittsburgh community” like a pickle festival.
“I love how it was a unique way to bring the community together over something as random as pickles,” Nucitelli said.
As random as pickles may be, the creativity of Picklesburgh has twice earned it the title of “#1 Specialty Food Festival in the Country” by USA Today readers in its six-year past.
Some Pittsburghers, like Duquesne secondary education sophomore Nina Merkle, attend Pickleburgh without a passionate devotion for pickles. Another perk of this food festival is that it does not only serve pickled delicacies, but also a variety of other cultural foods from city vendors.
Merkle’s favorite food at the festival was Polish vendor Gosia’s Pierogies. Each order had the option to mix and match among a variety of flavors, including sauerkraut and bacon potato. In addition to pierogies, festival-goers could also head to a candy booth, two fudge booths and cultural food booths that smelled delicious (and not pickle-y).
After trying the food, visitors could head to one of the pickle merchandise booths where they may purchase pickle earrings, socks, stickers, magnets or their very own pickle balloon. Live music performed by local bands provided additional entertainment. Every Picklesburgh celebration also features free Heinz pickle pins, which serve as perfect mini mementos of this strangely rewarding day in the high heat of August.
Another popular part of Picklesburgh is their selection of pickle-themed beverages. At Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, people could purchase a bright green cream soda for only a few dollars. Goodlander Cocktail Brewery served up dill pickle hard lemonade, raspberry shrub, and one cocktail that boasted an array of rainbow pickles. Wigle Whiskey also made an appearance with fan-favorite Eau de Pickle spirit.
Xzavier Sciaretta, a freshman pharmacy student, was actually disappointed he could not participate more in the taste-testing and booth-hopping involved in Picklesburgh: “I couldn’t do a lot of it since I’m not 21.”
While there are plenty of booths to visit for the younger Picklesburgh-goers, pickle-based alcoholic beverages are definitely a main attraction for older visitors.
With the giant pickle flying high over the Andy Warhol Bridge, it was hard to ignore Pittsburgh’s history last weekend. With a community rooted strongly in their unique and subjectively delicious tradition, Pittsburgh shares its pickle pride with newcomers and native city-dwellers alike.