TangyTreat: Thomaston celebrates pepper jelly

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2008

THOMASTON &8212; The board members of the Alabama Rural Heritage Center are hard at work continuing their preparations for inaugural Pepper Jelly Festival, an event taking the place of the former Rural Fun Day.

The center&8217;s previous annual day of fun took place in late August. Organizers opted to move the event to earlier in the year, April 12, to take advantage of more favorable weather conditions.

Aside from the date, the event&8217;s name has changed to emphasize its most notable attraction, pepper jelly.

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While the date and name are different, the event will still feature many of the unique familiarities which make it what it is. The attractions include an open class car show, local artist booths featuring handmade crafts, a children&8217;s play area with inflatable bounces and moonwalks, an antique tractor display, a Mama Nem&8217;s Pepper Jelly dish cooking contest in which all dishes must contain a minimum of one tablespoon of the famous jelly, live entertainment from local bands and choirs, a generations contest which will award a prize to the family with the most generations present and the legendary Thomaston barbecue, which will be served at Mama Nem&8217;s restaurant.

The Pepper Jelly Festival, which garnered attention in the April issue of Southern Living magazine, will be the product of a lot of hard work over a short period of time.

James explains the date for the event had been set while the Rural Heritage Center still had a director. After that office vacated, the center&8217;s board members began overseeing its operations and activities. They were unaware of the festival&8217;s date until the second week of March, leaving them approximately a month before the event.

Those benefits have the potential of being greater than initially expected as the Southern Living article has provided the festival statewide attention.

While the turnout is expected to be high, organizers are not concerning themselves with quantity as much as they are quality.

The board is still soliciting participants for the festival as well as sponsors. Organizers encourage those wishing to provide entertainment, enter the car show, set-up a handmade craft booth, provide sponsorship or simply receive more information to call the Rural Heritage Center at 334-627-3388.