Our History

The following is a history of the Winchester Pickle Festival written by it's founder, Gary O'Neal. Enjoy!

 

I am the pickle

It was  a nasty and rainy summer afternoon- I had a guest from Boston

She wanted a pizza with peppers on one side

As usual A-1 delivered and the peppers looked great- and were tasty too.

Later that night watching a food show I thought about how inexpensively 

You could make a pizza this time of year with Fresh vegetables.-

 I then thought of the tomato throwing in Spain at the end of the season

I recalled the disaster the throwing of Zucchini the last year of the Zucchini Festival.

I then thought that hand made pickles were cheap and with all the erstwhile ‘farmers’ we had in town

 There must be a lot of produce that could be gathered – cleaned- and pickled

The next morning I mused more then thought- making pickles would be fun and inviting people that made them even better

Having produced Hinsdale’s 4th of July Celebration I was familiar with the games and prizes.

I called Chris Frado and Meg Conant- I told them of my idea- we set up a meeting at the town Hall the next week.

When I met there were several volunteers that liked the idea of an event in Winchester designed to be fun and without games of chance

I  told the all women cabal I in fact had done this before, knew what I was  doing- and could pay for the entire event with parking- as I had done  for years in Hinsdale.

I suggested the far corn field at the ELMM Center. I estimated I would take in about $5000 which would pay for the event. We all agreed- I also made pins to sell for $5 bucks

The next day I felt like I had kidnapped the Lindbergh baby and on my way to prison

What you want to ruin the ELMM center’s Field- the field is used and rented by the Kellyview Farm 

 I  suggested since the corn is used for silage- harvest the corn- and give  the ELMM another $200 for the rental of the field- I suggested $500

The horror of my proposal got a few more fringe element volunteers- who felt quite entitled, included Mrs. Kelly 

In  the next meeting I told the assemble I would pay for the event myself- I  spent the next few weeks getting donations from SYSCO

10 - 55 gallon Barrels of Pickles- and lining up bands for the parade I had promised

The retro nature of pickles lent itself to other events and I got steaks from Kulick’s for the Fire Dept. to do a steak Fry

I also hired an Elvis to head the parade and DJ an adult Dance that evening.

I  had ringers for every nature of item you could pickle and wrote lots of  copy and produced a Video record of the event for year 2

I got a feature in the Union Leader and NHPTV took some of my footage and Chanel 5 in Boston put it in upcoming weekend hits 

There were lots of items- lots of free stuff and the vendors I hired made lots of money.

The  volunteers in and about town were wonderful. I gave the event to the  committee I created and they have done their best for the past 20 years

I retired from committee work then.

Gary would also like to recognize the following people: "{The]...amazing support crew. Irene Clark, Carleen Burdick, Rick Meleski and  Chan Stephens who were all part of the Paper Service family, and with a 100  year old firm."