'Pretty awesome': Mount Olive's famous New Years 'pickle drop' gets national attention

Tom George Image
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Mount Olive's famous New Years 'pickle drop' gets national attention
As people get ready to celebrate the New Year, one community is home to a ball drop unlike any other.

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. (WTVD) -- As people get ready to celebrate the New Year, one community in North Carolina is home to a ball drop, unlike anything you would see in Times Square.

Forget the pierogi drop of Indiana, or Boise's Idaho Potato drop - Mount Olive is the place to be.

"We're all standing out in the cold to watch a pickle come make its descent into the new year," said Lynn Williams with the Mount Olive Pickle Company.

This year, the famous Pickle Drop made USA Today's Top 10 best New Year's Eve drops in the country.

ALSO SEE: Here's how towns ring in the new year in North Carolina: 'Drop it!'

"You know we've always just done our thing out here in Eastern North Carolina and so to get that kind of recognition is just pretty awesome," Williams said.

Lynn Williams has been there since the beginning in 1999, when what started just for fun with just employees at the factory, grew and grew until they made it public.

"And we were amazed that there were 250 other people standing around in the dark that have the same weird sense of humor that we have so we've grown a lot since then," she said.

And while it might be jarring planning such a big event, at Mount Olive, this is their bread and butter. With a fire engine ladder on hand, the pickle makes its descent into the jar, and if you were wondering, no it's not edible.

"Well, it's actually about 3 foot long and it's polyethylene and green. It's a big plastic pool pickle. We call it a pool pickle because it floats," Williams explained.

With pickle booths, live music, and even a food drive for the local food bank, it's become an attraction for people all over the world.

"And so we're on the bucket list, so they'll come from Florida, Georgia, Maine, everywhere," she said. "Some have come as far as Australia and Germany."

The event starts at 5 p.m., and the official pickle drop is at 7 p.m. with fireworks right after - It was initially done a 7 p.m. instead of midnight over 20 years ago because one of the organizers had a date, so now it's dropped at 7 p.m. to match with New Year's Greenwich Mean Time.

It's happening at the University of Mount Olive, 634 Henderson Street, Mount Olive, in front of the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena. There is ample parking, and they're encouraging you to bring your own chairs.