Mouthful

Some like it hot at Pepper Fest

Lyle Estill, founder of Piedmont Biofuels, dons a pepper hat during the 8th annual Pepper Fest in 2015. The annual festival, which benefits Abundance NC, challenges chefs to create one-of-a-kind recipes, from pepper chocolate to pepper vodka, using the locally grown and bred North Carolina peppers.
Lyle Estill, founder of Piedmont Biofuels, dons a pepper hat during the 8th annual Pepper Fest in 2015. The annual festival, which benefits Abundance NC, challenges chefs to create one-of-a-kind recipes, from pepper chocolate to pepper vodka, using the locally grown and bred North Carolina peppers. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

By late September, North Carolina starts to cool off. Then comes Pepper Fest.

The Chatham County festival celebrates all things hot and bothered about the capsaicin bombs that seem to thrive in the Carolina climate.

This year’s festival on Sunday, Sept. 24, will mark the 10th anniversary of the Amazing Pepper Festival, which started as 40 friends trying a few new varieties of peppers and has grown into an event drawing more than 2,000 attendees.

More than 30 chefs and restaurants have signed on to participate this year, with each preparing dishes using peppers grown in Chatham County, around 1,000 pounds of peppers altogether. Around a dozen breweries and distilleries will be on hand serving beers and mixed drinks made with the peppers.

There will be children’s activities, the crowning of a king and queen as well as prizes for best dish and best beer.

The festival is 3 to 6 p.m. at Great Meadow Park at Briar Chapel, located halfway between Chapel Hill and Pittsboro. Enter Margaret Pollard Middle School, 185 Granite Mill Blvd., Chapel Hill, in GPS.

Tickets are $25 and will increase to $30 on Sept. 23. Proceeds will benefit Abundance NC, a nonprofit working to promote sustainability and support a more local economy.

Info: pepperfestnc.org or 919-533-5181.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

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