What to Expect: Details on the Comeback of Pittsburgh’s Beloved Pickle Fest

Picklesburgh returns for three days beginning Aug. 20.
Pickle

PHOTO BY RENEE ROSENSTEEL FOR THE PITTSBURGH DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP

Pittsburgh’s premiere pickle party is coming back for its sixth year after the pandemic pressed pause on the festivities in 2020. 

This year, Picklesburgh will be held on the Andy Warhol Bridge, just a block away from its previous home on the Roberto Clemente Bridge. To reduce congestion on the bridge itself, and to allow for more seating and space, all prepared foods and happy-hour cocktails will be set up along Fort Duquesne Boulevard between Stanwix and 9th streets. 

Fort Duquesne Boulevard will also play host to the First National Bank Main Stage, the larger of the two performance venues for live music and shows. Another, more intimate, stage will be located at the Andy Warhol Bridge’s north end.

Presented by Kraft Heinz and produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the festival’s popularity has ballooned since its inaugural event in 2015, receiving national and international acclaim for both its uniqueness and its absurdity; It recently claimed a second consecutive victory as the No. 1 Best Specialty Food Festival in America, and has also been recognized as a “Signature Event” of the Commonwealth by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. 

“We are thrilled to partner with the PDP to sponsor Pittsburgh’s annual Picklesburgh festival again this year,” says Steve Cornell, president of Kraft Heinz – Enhancers, Specialty and Away from Home Business Unit, in a press release. “Heinz and pickles are synonymous with Pittsburgh and we couldn’t be prouder of our company’s rich history in the city and this amazing event – it’s kind of a big dill.”

As always, Picklesburgh will showcase a wide range of pickle-based culinary treats from local chefs, farmers and picklers from across the region — and well beyond it, too; Wigle Whiskey will be back with its award-winning Eau de Pickle spirit crafted especially for the festival. Pittsburgh Pickle Co., the largest local pickle manufacturer in the area, will be selling Briney Mary Bloody Mary Mix, Picklexir pickle juice, hot sauces and T-shirts. 

Also returning is the popular Pickle Juice Drinking Contest. As part of the contest, guests may also enter to win a $500 grand prize and the title of Mayor of Picklesburgh. Competitors will face off in preliminary rounds on Friday and Saturday, culminating in a final championship chug-off on Sunday. Registration will be available soon on the event’s website. There also will be a limited number of sign-up opportunities at Picklesburgh.

Admission is free, and though attendees 21 years of age or older will need wristbands to purchase alcohol, they’ll be available at no cost in various locations around the festival with proper ID. (Cocktails will only be available after 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and after 1 p.m. on Sunday.) The festival itself will run from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

While Picklesburgh is an outdoor, open-air festival, organizers recommended that attendees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For those who have been vaccinated, masks are optional. But for the unvaccinated, face coverings are a must

Festival organizers will continue to monitor health and safety guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Allegheny County Health Department to stay up-to-date on social distancing, masking mandates and pandemic-related restrictions. Requirements may be modified as needed to ensure public safety. 

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