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Pickle Day Returns to Lower East Side With Briny Treats

By Julie Shapiro | October 24, 2013 12:54pm
 Pickle Day is returning to the Lower East Side on Oct. 27, 2013.
Pickle Day is returning to the Lower East Side on Oct. 27, 2013.
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Lower East Side Business Improvement District

MANHATTAN — Pickle Day is back on the Lower East Side.

After a two-year hiatus, the festival devoted to all things brine is returning to Orchard Street on Sunday. Picklers from across the tri-state area will serve their vinegary best, while amateurs can submit their own pickled creations to a panel of judges.

"It kind of became a cult event," said Katie Archer, director of programs and services at the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, which recently took over the annual festival from the NY Food Museum. "People are absolutely crazy for pickles."

Lower East Side Pickle Day — a spinoff of New York City International Pickle Day, which was run by the LES BID and the museum from 2001 to 2010 — will fill three blocks of Orchard Street with everything from pickle truffles and pickled peach ice cream to traditional, fresh-out-of-the-barrel treats.

Those who pride themselves on their pickling skills can submit their best efforts to a panel of judges from Russ & Daughters, Food Network Magazine and other outlets. There will be two categories — "pickled pickles" and "pickled other" — and the samples will be judged based on appearance, flavor and texture.

Pickles have a long history on the Lower East Side: At the turn of the 20th century, there were 80 independent picklers in the neighborhood, Archer said.

"It's a nod to history of the neighborhood," Archer said of the festival. "It's the immigrants who came here and started selling them on the streets in barrels and worked their way up to opening storefronts — that's the American dream." 

Sunday's pickle festival will coincide with the BID's regular DayLife series, which brings concerts, kids' activities and food and clothing vendors to Orchard Street. The event will also include a costume contest for kids and adults, judged by the comedic duo Fantasy Grandma.

Lower East Side Pickle Day will be held on Orchard Street between Delancey and East Houston streets from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. For more information about entering the pickling contest, visit the Lower East Side BID's website.