This weekend: 16th Annual Rosendale Pickle Festival

Above: Half-sour garlic pickles from Puckers Gourmet, first-place winner at the 2010 Rosendale Pickle Festival.

Spicy, tangy, salty, sweet: Pickles of all varieties will star in Rosendale this Sunday, at the town's annual International Pickle Festival.

Set up under big tents at the community center, Rosendale’s Picklefest feels a bit like a bazaar in some exotic land. Vendor space is sold out this year, which means a glorious profusion of wearable art, useful goods, novelties and tantalizing food. Home practitioners of the ancient culinary art of pickling will be swapping tips and sampling each other’s wares.

Pickles will be tossed, pickle juice will be drunk in copious quantities, pickles will be drawn by dozens of children, and a guy in a giant pickle suit will be roaming the grounds. In the cozy warmth of the rec center there will be candlemaking for the kids, a Japanese tea ceremony, and exultant African drumming. Pickles from far and wide will compete for glory in a professionally-judged pickle-off.

It’s the sixteenth year for the festival, which got started when Bill and Cathy Brooks threw a “little party” for their Japanese pickle-loving pal Eri Yamaguchi and over a thousand people showed up. These days, Ulster County's zestiest fest regularly draws thousands of visitors, some from far beyond American shores. Come on down and get pickled.

16th Annual Rosendale Pickle Festival. Sunday, Nov. 24, 10 am-5 pm, Rosendale Community Center, Route 32. Admission $3 for individuals, $5 for families. For more information, see the Pickle Festival's Facebook page.