Pickle hunt back again in Loudonville-Perrysville area

Pickle hunt back again in Loudonville-Perrysville area

The pickle hunt, an annual event promoted by the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum and sponsored by nearly three dozen local businesses, began Dec. 1 in the Loudonville-Perrysville area.


What once began as an unusual way to get people out of the house during the pandemic in 2020 has become a popular tradition in the Loudonville and Perrysville areas.

Known as the pickle hunt, the annual event is promoted by the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum and sponsored by nearly three dozen local businesses. According to the museum’s curator Kenny Libben, the event has century-old origins rooted in a Victorian-era tradition of hiding a pickle in the tree on Christmas morning. The first child to find it would normally receive an extra gift. Though that tradition has largely faded away, it is once again popular at least in the Mohican area.

The current version of the pickle hunt was developed by the museum nearly a decade ago, first introduced at private events where Libben said it quickly became the most popular part of the event. When COVID-19 forced the museum to cancel these events, the decision was made to take it outdoors and open it up to everyone.

The rules are simple: a pickle is hidden or dropped somewhere in the Mohican area, and a clue is posted on the Facebook group called The Pickle Hunt. The first clues are vague, only giving a general location or a riddle pointing to where the pickle is located. Throughout the day, if the pickle remains unfound, further clues will be posted to narrow the search. Once the pickle is found, the winner will be announced and the hunt is called off until the next one is dropped.

In addition to keeping the souvenir pickle — which was designed and printed from resin by Gorman-Rupp Industries — the winner will receive one or more prizes donated by area businesses. Each pickle also is hand-painted by the L-P Art Club with a unique design and marked to commemorate the year it was found. Competition often sees hundreds of hunters showing up at the announced location to seek out the pickle and nearly 900 hunters subscribing to the Facebook alerts.

This year new “Lord of the Pickles” — a title given to whomever oversees hiding the pickles — will be Ashley Jenkins-Lape. Jenkins-Lape has actively participated in the pickle hunt since its inception and has a strong track record of finding the pickles.

“This made her a perfect candidate to be the one hiding them,” Libben said, “because she has a good eye for hiding spots and it also means other hunters will have a chance of finding them with her out of the way.”

Though the pickles were originally hidden by Libben, he realized when the calendar turns December, all eyes in the community are focused on him. “Once people remember that I’m the one hiding pickles, I can’t go anywhere without being followed or spied on,” he said. “I’ve even walked out of buildings before to overhear someone on the phone with their family or friends telling them that they thought I just hid a pickle in that location.”

This year there are 12 pickles to hide. Prizes have been donated by Loudonville Farmers Equity, Harris Automotive, Drops of Essentials Health and Wellness, Lingenfelter Jewelers, East of Chicago, Shrock Premier Custom Construction, Rhoads Jewelry, Millers Furniture, Raby Hardware, Trails End, Stake’s Shortstop, Copper Top Gallery, Heffelfinger Marathon, Alabaster Mouse, Four Seasons Flower and Gifts, Landoll’s Mohican Castle, Mohican Adventures, Goodwill, Buzzard Family Shoe Store, Creative Outlet, Atterholt Law, Mowery Cider Mill, Premier Metals, Modern Home Supply, Park National Bank, Shrivers Pharmacy, NAPA Auto Parts, Stakes IGA, and private individuals.

Libben said the museum is grateful for the support shown by local businesses — exceeding $1,200 in prize money — as well as the interest shown by the rest of the community.

For those hoping to join, Libben said the best way is to search Facebook groups for The Pickle Hunt, noting Facebook users can subscribe and receive alerts when new clues are posted, but even those who don’t have a Facebook account can still view clues and announcements. Times for new pickles will be announced in advance to assist hunters with knowing when to check for clues. The first pickle was dropped Dec. 1.

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