Chase Pickle Festival celebrates area's pickled past

Chase, one of the earliest towns in Lake County, had the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad, a major line from Ludington to Saginaw, running through it. Farmers were able to utilize the railroad for business, making Chase a center for pickle operations. (Courtesy photo/Chase Township Public Library)

Chase, one of the earliest towns in Lake County, had the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad, a major line from Ludington to Saginaw, running through it. Farmers were able to utilize the railroad for business, making Chase a center for pickle operations. (Courtesy photo/Chase Township Public Library)

Courtesy photo/Chase Township Public Library

CHASE — Preserving the past of Chase in fun, memorable ways, the Chase Pickle Festival will take place in conjunction with the Lake County Sesquicentennial celebration, which begins Saturday, Sept. 25.

Since 2012, the Chase Pickle Festival has brought folks from the area together to celebrate the past and pickles — and  support the Chase Township Public Library.

Chase once had a pickle salting station along the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad south of town, and farmers and their families were able to earn extra money hauling pickling cucumbers from their pickle patch to store in vats of salting solution, which were then shipped for further production. The smaller the cucumber, the bigger the price, locals recall. The pickle operation ran from 1912 to 1955.

PICKLE PAGEANT

This year’s festivities will kick off with a pickle pageant at 1 p.m. Saturday Sept. 25, near the pavilion at the Chase Township Library Park, 8400 E. North Street, Chase. Children, ages 4-10, will have a chance to compete for the Pickle Queen and King crown.

Youth from anywhere can participate and can begin registering now, with the deadline up until the day of the pageant. Contestants are encouraged to wear their Sunday best and prepare to share a talent, skill or hobby.

DRESS A PICKLE  

Another fun feature will be a “Dress a Pickle” contest, for all ages. The contest involves dressing a pickle, from the garden or the grocery store, in a fun costume. The only rule is, be creative. Take a photo of the pickle and email it to PICKLEFEST@HOTMAIL.COM. Include a contact number with the photo submission, and an age. Deadline for the photo submission is Monday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m.

A winner will be chosen in categories 1-5, 6-12, 13-18 and adult. A prize will be rewarded for winners of each age group. Photos will be uploaded to the Chase Pickle Fest Facebook page, and the winner will be chosen by the number of “likes” received. The deadline for voting will be Friday, Sept. 24, at 9 p.m. The winner will be announced during the festival.

THE GREAT PICKLE COOK-OFF

A new feature organizers are excited about is “The Great Pickle Cook-off.”

For anyone who ever wanted to try making an interesting recipe with pickles, now is their opportunity to do so. Ideas could include a dill pickle soup, pickle wraps and appetizer creations, or main entrees which include pickles.

The public will get to taste samples and buy tickets to vote for their favorite pickle-themed recipe. The cook receiving the most tickets wins. Registration for the contest begins now, up to 2 p.m. the day of the festival.

OLD-FASHIONED GAMES,  CUSTOM T-SHIRTS

Along with the contests, organizers are planning many old-fashioned outdoor games, food and activities, from 2-5 p.m., at the Chase Township Library Park. Custom-designed T-shirts, depicting the Battle of Chase with pickle people (the fight with Bald- win for the county seat), also will be available for purchase.

All proceeds from the festival will benefit Chase Township Public Library. Stay tuned for updates on the Chase Pickle Fest Facebook Page. To sign up for any of the contests, email PICKLE-FEST@HOTMAIL.COM , or call the library at 231-832-9511.

ARTIFACTS, CEMETERY TOURS

Also to commemorate the history of Chase during the week-long Sesquicentennial celebration, Chase area historical items will be displayed, and from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, local historian Sid Woods will showcase area Native American artifacts, all at the Chase Township Public Library.

Anyone interested in a tour of the Gould Cemetery, established in 1872, on State Road two miles north of U.S. 10,  can meet at 5 p.m. after Woods’ artifact showing at the library, and depart from there for the tour by Woods.

He also will give a tour of the Chase Township Cemetery, on Hawkins and 64th Street, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, where many of the township’s early settlers and Civil War veterans are buried.