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Reasons to attend Picklesburgh

Staff picks for the fourth-annual pickle showcase that takes over the Roberto Clemente Bridge

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What’s with this Picklesburgh?

The new editor asks a lot of questions. Lately, though, that one keeps coming up.

If only there was an easy answer.

The simple one is that Picklesburgh “showcases Downtown Pittsburgh’s pickled history and culinary ingenuity.” At least, that is an answer found atop the FAQ section of Picklesburgh’s official website. But the section goes on to complicate this matter — and, well, do we really need to complicate a celebration of all-things-pickle (or some-things-pickle, or even sorta-things-pickle)?

Nope. 

As has been said several times during around the City Paper office: “because pickles are awesome!” That’s “what’s with this Picklesburgh,” bossman.

But don’t take our word. Head to the fourth-annual Picklesburgh, produced by the Downtown Pickle Pittsburgh Partnership, to chew on all the goodliness. We have identified a few activities that are a big, uh, dill.

(By the way: the new editor wrote that line, not us.)

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  • CP file photos

BUY IT

Lisa Cunningham: It’s easy to spot other pickle lovers while packed together on a bridge eating pickled foods and drinking pickle beers underneath a gigantic pickle balloon. But how do you tell the world that you’re a pickle fan those other 362 days of the year? You stop by Just My Art’s stand at Picklesburgh and buy pickle jewelry, that’s how. 

Imagine a sea of black and gold on Steelers game day and spotting the green glow of a light hitting a pickle jar necklace across the room. Or a woman tossing back her hair at Giant Eagle and revealing handcrafted pickle earrings. Quick, look in her cart. “Oh, you’re buying pickles too?” Pickle mating gold. 

Because seriously, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t like pickles?

DRINK IT

Ryan Deto: Pickles are tasty. Beer is tasty. Combining pickles and beer is freaking genius.

Two regional breweries are bringing you pickle beers to Picklesburgh. Great Lakes Brewing and Southern Tier Brewing specially brewed gose-style beers — and, no, the beers aren’t actually pickled (vinegar and sugar weren’t added). 

Great Lakes dropped in fresh dill and bay leaves to flavor its brew. Southern Tier infused its beer with peppercorns and dill. Each is a refreshing, easy drink. The brewers say these herbs mix surprisingly well with the subtle saltiness of goses. 

So, while cringing at the famous pickle juice chugging contest, you can actually knock back a pickle beer.

TAKE IT

Alex Gordon: Pickles, though blessed with a gnarly shelf life when jarred, do not last forever. But cheer up: Long after the pickled pierogis, pizzas, hot sauces, jams and beer of Picklesburgh are imbibed and debibed, your Pittsburgh Pottery souvenirs will remain. 

All the products from this local company are yellow (what you might call “Pittsburgh-bridge yellow”), adorned with a variety of Yinzerisms, and one particularly charming “Killer pierogi.”

As they say: like diamonds, “yellow jagoff fridge magnets last forever.”

POP IT

Hannah Lynn: Eight years ago, I saw a video of Selena Gomez talking about how she loves pickle juice on her popcorn — and I still remember it for no reason. 

She is from Texas, and apparently that’s a local treat. And I was ecstatic when I learned pickle popcorn was available up north, combining two perfect snacks into one beautiful creation.

At Picklesburgh, there will be several pickle popcorns from Ekernally Yours, a popcorn shop based out of Charleroi. Flavors include creamy dill, bread and butter, pickled garlic, and a couple spicy varieties. 

I’m going with the garlic because I only like foods that make my breath smell terrible.

HEAR IT

Alex McCann: Picklesburgh isn’t just a delight for your taste buds; 18 different bands and musicians are scheduled to perform during the three days. Artists from just about every genre are on the lineup, so be ready to hear everything from rock and R&B to hip hop and folk. 

Almost all of the artists set to perform are from Pittsburgh. Rock singer William Matheny has the longest journey to Picklesburgh, coming from Mannington, W. Vax. Aliquippa-based roots rockers Dan Bubien & The Delta Struts will hit the stage at noon Friday to start the music, which will continue through Sunday evening.

SEE IT

Lauren Ortego: Have you ever found yourself enjoying Picklesburgh and looking for just the right snapshot to post on Instagram? Well, there is a giant, 35-foot long Heinz pickle balloon attached to the Roberto Clemente Bridge. 

This iconic, inflatable dill is not only hard to miss, it’s also made by the same folks who produce the famous balloons used every year in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and at Disney’s theme parks. Use it as a backdrop in your Snapchat or as a location marker when finding friends.

This portly pickle presents the perfect picture to put, post and pin on every feed. 

PADDLE IT

Jared Wickerham: Any event in Pittsburgh that can be accessed via the three rivers is absolutely my favorite kind. 

Picklesburgh is in the perfect location: no driving through construction, no paying outrageous prices for parking, and no sitting through Pirates traffic that will inevitably let out at the exact same time your event ends. Just steal a ride from your one friend that owns a boat or grab the nearest non-motorized floatation device and hit the water. 

For me, it’s an 11-foot, 4-inch stand-up paddle board. But canoes or kayaks are just as handy and can easily navigate the rivers even during the busiest of times. With this festival happening right on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, you can just lock your ride underneath and enjoy some pickle juice without the stress of a finding your car that has been baking under the sun in a lot.

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