Chase Pickle Fest a big success

CHASE — In what organizers of the Chase Pickle Festival are calling their most successful year yet, the event drew crowds of people looking for pickle-themed fun during the weekend.

The fifth annual Chase Pickle Festival took place at the Chase Township Public Library park with several events also going on at the Chase Creek Smokehouse. Approximately $10,000 was raised, bringing in more money than previous years to go into the library’s general fund.

Event organizer Heather Streicher was pleased with the results.

“We had a constant flow of people coming in and out of the park and the library. I think the festival went great. We have a great team of volunteers and sponsors, and we met our financial goal,” she said.

The festival kicked off Friday evening with the pickle pageant at the Chase Creek Smokehouse. The contest theme was favorite book characters, and the young contestants dressed as cowboys, superheros, princesses and more.

During the competition, contestant Hunter Stevens was asked if he could have one wish, what would it be.

“I want a quad,” he answered.

In keeping with the pickle theme, when Micha Dubreuil was asked what is the healthiest food to eat, he was quick to answer, “Cucumbers.”

After the round of questions, the contestants danced to the song, “Dance Like a Pickle in the Blender.”

Hunter Stevens and Emy Patterson were crowned the 2017 pickle prince and princess.

Saturday’s festivities began with a parade through Chase led by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, followed by service vehicles such as Baldwin and Yates Township fire departments, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Lake County Road Commission. The Pickle Court rode on a hay wagon. The pickle prince and princess rode in a buggy, as did the grand marshals Joshua Clark and Lillian Woods, who are the oldest known residents in the Chase area. 4-H youth rode horses, ponies and walked calves.

After the parade, children got to explore service vehicles in the new “Touch a Truck” event. Greg Shoemaker from the Baldwin Fire Department let children spray the fire hose.

The afternoon continued with games, food and contests.

Chase Township Public Library Director Roxanne Ware was impressed with the participation in the pickle tasting contest.

“We had 24 pickle entries and more participants in the contest than previous years,” she said. “Diane O’Neil won grand champion. Categories were dill pickles, sweet pickles, relish and miscellaneous.”

Ware said the bake sale cleared more than $1,000, doubling proceeds raised last year.

“We sold almost all of our baked goods, food concessions and this year’s Pickle Fest T-shirts. We even sold a lot of T-shirts still available from previous years,” she said. “The Chase Creek Smokehouse also was hopping with event-goers purchasing chicken dinners donated by owners Pat and Linda Ringler.

“We received great feedback and ideas for next year’s festival from people who attended. I am so happy with how the event went this year and all the involvement from organizers, volunteers and the community.”