This Michigan Town Is The ‘Christmas Pickle Capital’
Or is it? What once was a holiday tradition is no more.
Berrien Springs, in the southwestern corner of Michigan was once officially declared the "Christmas Pickle Capitol of the World" by the Pickle Packers International.
Let's begin our story by looking back at the tradition of the "Christmas Pickle"? It involves a pickle shaped ornament that is hidden somewhere on the Christmas tree, and the first child who finds the pickle on Christmas morning gets a special gift, or treat.
I was always told this was an old German tradition that was passed on in the new world by immigrants, but that is not the case.
According to the Christmas tradition site WhyChristmas.com, if you ask anyone in Germany about the pickle, they are baffled. There are many stories about its true origin, from a marketing scheme drummed up by a department store to sell its pickle ornaments, to a Civil War veteran who believed a pickle healed his wounds, but no one knows for certain.
So why is Berrien Springs the Christmas Pickle Capital?
For much of the 20th Century it was a huge pickle producing area, so the town went all in on the Christmas pickle tradition and in 1992 started up a festival every December called (what else?) "The Christmas Pickle Festival", with a parade led by the "Grand Dillmaster".
And hanging on to the German theme, the town does indeed have a lot of German descendants, despite their school's athletic teams being nicknamed the "Shamrocks".
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the Christmas Pickle Festival Parade ended in 2003, and the Pickle Festival was moved to summer.
In the meantime, the holiday festival was renamed "Kindle Your Christmas Spirit" (boring!)
But the nickname stuck, and Berrien Springs technically remains the Christmas Pickle Capital of the World!
Instead of milk and cookies, what would adults leave out for santa?