Pepperfest kicks off this weekend in Chapel Hill


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Stuffed peppers, pepper-iced brownies, fried peppers and pepper flavored beer are just some of the reasons you may want to head out to Chapel Hill Sunday.

This is the 8th year for Pepperfest- a fun event that highlights local farmers and their crops.

“The best part is seeing the people so happy,” said Tami Schwerin, Pepper Festival event organizer.

That’s what this weekend’s Pepperfest is all about – and the annual crowning of the Pepper Queen and King is sure to get some smiles.

But the main event is all the good eats!

“Oh gosh; the eating! It’s a foodie event to say the least,” said Jami Pearson, lives in the Briar Chapel community.

The festival started eight years ago. Schwerin came up with the idea as a way to help local farmers prosper.

“It’s incredibly important to buy from local farmers – and we purchased the peppers from local farmers and now we have these awesome chefs who are going to create amazing dishes,” Schwerin said.

Schwerin helped found Abundance NC – an organization that focuses on taking care of the environment and encouraging people to buy sustainably grown foods.

“It’s about the health of my family, the health of the community, and the health of the dirt really,” she said.

And Pepperfest has become tradition for lots of folks, including Camille Armantrout.

She attended the first Pepper Festival when it was in Pittsboro with just 40 people.

“First, it was like a potluck where it was like, ‘let’s go taste peppers and rate them.’ And now it’s this big deal,’ said Armantrout.

More than a thousand people were attended last year and even more are expected this year.

“People are becoming more aware of where they get their food,’ said Nancy Wisniewski, a local farmer.

Wisniewski has been farming in Chatham County for five years. She’s says highlighting the fresh produce and foods that local farmers offer is crucial to North Carolina’s economy and the community.

“You get to meet other farmers, the restaurants, beer makers and people in the community – that’s not a small part – it’s really a lot of fun,” Wisniewski said.

Pepperfest is Sunday, Sept. 27 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Briar Chapel community in Chapel Hill. There will be lots of food from the area’s best chefs as well as live entertainment. Tickets are $25.

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