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The 2021 Berrien Springs Pickle Festival is officially in the books, and by all accounts, it was a dill-lightful day! Here’s a recap of all the events, places and especially people who made the event such a success…and one that will definitely be repeated next year.

The Games And Festivities

Young Flinger In The Pickle Toss – Photo Credit John Moga

Games and festivities were a highlight of the 2021 Pickle Festival, with pickle-lovers young and old getting into the spirit. “About 80 people took part in the pickle fling, and they threw about 100 pounds of pickles,” says Kelly Ewalt, Community Development Director for the Village of Berrien Springs.

Ewalt notes that 18 kids took part in the big wheel race, and that pickle decorating at the library was particularly popular, with about two bushels of cucumbers being transformed into works of pickle art. And the tasting room – featuring everything from pickled vegetables and pickled eggs to pickled popcorn and even pickled cotton candy – was so popular that “we had to close at noon because we ran out of food,” Ewalt shares.

Cleaning up the streets after the pickle toss: a big dill. Photo Credit: John Moga

The Sponsors And Vendors

13 sponsors came out of the community to help bring this event to life, and 34 vendors displayed their talents and wares. “We never thought we’d have that many the first year back,” says Ewalt, noting that the group included everything from food vendors to a blacksmith, arts and crafts, axe throwing, and community organizations that set up booths on the courthouse grounds.

The People

Village President Jesse Hibler got into the pickle spirit. Photo Credit: John Moga

While pickles were a big star of the 2021 Pickle Festival, it couldn’t have happened without the people.

An estimated 1000-2000 people showed up to take part in the festivities, from all over the Midwest. “There were four or five states represented in the festival attendees,” Ewalt says, with people from Lansing, South Bend, Terra Haute, and Chicago in the crowd. “Overall, I couldn’t believe how many people showed up – at one point I looked around and thought, holy moly, there are so many people here!” Another group of people who made a big impact: volunteers. “We had more than 20 people who helped us – they were a huge part of this event,” says Ewalt.

Grand Dillmeister, Marty Rudlaff. Photo Credit: John Moga

Looking Forward To 2021

“Starting with the pancake breakfast put on by the Fire Department, moving into the festival, and then heading into the Fourth of July parade – it was just a really good day to be in Berrien Springs,” Ewalt says. While last-minute changes to Covid-related restrictions made planning a challenge in 2021, Ewalt and the rest of the planning committee expect smoother sailing next year – and have already locked in the date: July 4. That gives you plenty of time to put that date on your calendar, practice your pickle-tossing skills, and perhaps purchase a pickle costume to rival the Village President’s.