Tenth Annual Pepper Festival

By Sarah Mausert

Sunday, September 24 marks the date for Abundance NC’s 10th Annual Pepper Festival held in Briar Chapel, Chapel Hill, from 3 to 6PM.  Admission is $30 for adults, $35 at the door, kids up to seven are free, and $5 for kids up to 14 years old.  You can purchase tickets here or by calling 919-533-5181.


As part of the festivities, about 50 chefs and brewers from around the state will compete to create the best recipes using the locally grown and bred North Carolina pepper.  Competitors include Jason Smith from Harvest 18, Amy Tornquist from Watt’s Grocery,  Carolina Brewery, Fullsteam, and Mystic Distillery. Judging begins at 3PM with awards at 5 PM that include the categories: Best in Show, Creative Southern Culture, Down Home Delight, Loving the Local, Most Unexpected, Spectacular Spirit, Best Brew, Most Local Libation, and Creative Craft Beverage.


The Pepper Festival promises a fun day for the whole family.  The four mile Flying Pepper Trail Run starts at 10AM. The Spicy Kids Chef Competition pairs kids grades 4 thru 7 with professional chefs to create their own pepper recipes.  Register soon, fees and registration are due by September 11.  There will also be face painting, bubble art, storytelling, and red-clad, pepper-themed acrobats in the Kid Zone.  There will be live music featuring The Piedmont Regulators and Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys.


The pepper festival started with 40 people ten years ago. Since then the festival has grown and raised more than $150,000 to support agricultural research, develop innovative plants and breeds designed to thrive in North Carolina, and support local farmers through Abundance NC.  The nonprofit cultivates and celebrates resilient communities by strengthening food systems, increasing renewable energy education, and developing robust local economies.


Come on down, Sunday, September 24, from 3 to 6, in Great Meadow Park at Briar Chapel in Chapel Hill.  Don’t forget to bring some cash for the bar.  Celebrate the pepper y’all!


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