Picklesburgh — the annual celebration of all things pickled — has become a Pittsburgh tradition, but there are a few new aspects this year to make the event an even bigger dill and a little less cucumbersome.
July 20-22 marks the city’s fourth Picklesburgh, each year growing bigger, punnier, and quirkier. It will again be held on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, where a 35-foot tall pickle balloon will soar over the celebration. Here’s what’s new this year.
Sunday fun day
The biggest change? More Picklesburgh.
Previously held only Friday and Saturday, the festival will now extend to Sunday, as well.
“We’re really pleased to be able to add an additional weekend day,” said Leigh White, spokesperson for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which hosts the event. “It’ll give people who aren’t always able to get down there an extra day.”
The event will run from noon until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m. Sunday.
Changes this year will help with flow on the packed bridge.Photo by Renee Rosensteel / Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
Though it’s a very Pittsburgh setting, hosting an event on a bridge means there’s limited space.
To help the flow of traffic, the Downtown Partnership will better manage the lines by adding stanchions and making sure queues snake to save space.
Additionally, the stage will be moved further from the bridge and closer to PNC Park on the North Side to accommodate more booths and vendors.
White said, “[It’s about] being a little easier to get through — less cucumbersome.”
Bacon? Yes. Pickles? Yes.Photo by Renee Rosensteel / Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
At Picklesburgh, expect prepared foods as well as pickled delicacies you can take home.
In the prepared foods category, Bae Bae’s Kitchen will join the festival serving Korean-inspired pickles and pickled toppings, such as a dish dubbed “Grandma’s Kimchi.”
Coop de Ville, a new Richard DeShantz restaurant set to open in the Strip District later this year, will offer a sneak peek at the menu with their pickled take on southern cuisine. Try a pickle-brined fried chicken sandwich, either the Nashville Hot or the Plain Jane.
Penn Cove Eatery will make its Picklesburgh debut with a tuna ceviche with pickled watermelon rind, dill pickle salmon sushi, plus a yellowtail, grapefruit, and pickled fennel poke bowl.
Superior Motors will join the festival this year with the Superior Donburi, consisting of sushi rice, smoked and pickled egg, pickled trout roe, kim chi, dehydrated pickled furikake. A tofu version will also be on the menu.
Remember to save room for dessert because Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream will launch two pickle ice cream flavors.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed with how creative our culinary community has been with Picklesburgh, and this year is no exception,” White said.
"Extraordinarily dilly and spectacularly briny."Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
You’re going to need something to wash down all of that pickled fare, and Picklesburgh is going to deliver this year.
The Warren Bar and Burrow will serve up a pickled watermelon margarita; a Fred Collins with lemon, coriander, and pickled fennel; and the Picklesburgh Old Fashioned featuring candied orange and pickled cherries.
Wigle Whiskey will introduce Eau de Pickle (pronounced “Oh de Pickle”), a limited new pickle-flavored beverage. It’s a complex, flavor-forward spirit that can be enjoyed with an ice cube or as a component in a bloody mary or other cocktails. The recipe is loosely based on a classic Aquavit recipe from Scandinavia, incorporating classic pickle flavors including dill, coriander, mustard seed, and garlic into a rye-based high proof spirit. It’ll be available in cocktails or to buy by the bottle.
If you’re more of a beer person, fear not: Two pickled beers will be on the menu, including Southern Tier’s Dill Pickle Gose brewed with coriander fresh dillweed, salt and peppercorn.
(And just in case all of that makes your stomach turn, there will be regular, non-pickled beers and drinks, too.)
It's not Pittsburgh — it's Picklesburgh.Photo by Renee Rosensteel / Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
An extra day means more timeslots for local music to get you in the spear-it.
Over the course of the three-day festival, 18 local bands will perform covering a variety of genres, from blues to rap to folk.
Two Who’s Next: Music honorees are on the bill: Mars Jackson and Devin Moses & The Saved.
Winner winner pickle dinner.Rossilynne Culgan / The Incline
More pickle juice drinking
Last year, a
man hero named Fred Smith downed 32 ounces of pickle juice in 8.34 seconds to win the annual pickle juice drinking competition and become “Mayor of Picklesburgh.”
This year, pickle juice drinking champions from each year of Picklesburgh will return for a battle on Sunday, along with the winner from the regular competition on Saturday.
“Those four will have the opportunity to go head-to-head to be the ultimate pickle juice champion,” White said.