By Nasrin Zahed
Saturday, Sept. 16, marked the 43rd annual Greenlawn Pickle Festival, and the streets leading into the John Gardiner Farm, located at 900 Park Ave. in Huntington, were overflowing with visitors.
Hosted by the Greenlawn/Centerport Historical Association, Long Islanders had the opportunity to partake in the historic event. In honor of the once-flourishing pickle industry from 1880 to 1920, the festival is a chance for locals to look back on history and enjoy a classic pickle.
The site of the event was once a 600-acre farmscape run by the late Alexander Gardiner. Considered one of the leading farmers in the Huntington area, he was well known for introducing pickles as a cash crop, earning himself the title of “pickle pioneer.”
With parking along street sides and neighboring lots, patrons were welcomed into the farm for a small fee of $5 for nonmembers, $4 for members and children under 12 entered free.
Awaiting guests within the event were fun-filled activities such as hayrides, an antique car show, fried pickles, live music, a craft fair with over 30 vendors, pickle history displays, lollipop train rides, a farmers market, a corn maze, wine sampling and more pickles than one could imagine.
The event’s popularity seemed to spike this year as the space filled up quickly with community members wishing to join in on the pickle festivities — at times with hundreds waiting outside the entrance.
By midafternoon, the event had reached overcapacity, leaving volunteer members to explain to the hundreds outside that they were only permitted entry once people had left the festival. Also, by this time, many food vendors had run out of products for sale.
For festival-goers inside the entry lines, every activity began to feel like an impossible feat. With each line seemingly taking over an hour to reach the end, it was a true testament to the devotion of pickle lovers.