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Pepper Jelly Festival nears

THOMASTON – The Pepper Jelly Festival, an annual event celebrating rural heritage in Alabama with arts & crafts, exhibits, storytelling, gospel singing, and other local entertainment, is set for April 24 in Thomaston.

The annual event is one of the largest gatherings for one of Marengo County’s smallest towns, attracting visitors from across the region.

“It’s always been very popular,” Kathryn Friday, Marengo County’s Extension Agent and a coordinator for the festival, said. “It used to be called Rural Heritage Fun Day in August but it was just too hot. So, we moved it to the spring and highlighted our Pepper Jelly and it just took off from there. It grows every year.”

Pepper Jelly, a popular staple of the Rural Heritage Center, was developed by Auburn University and is produced at the Thomaston facility as a way to finically support the operation.

“It gave the gift shop something to sell year-round,” Friday said. “And people buy it, year-round. It’s really very popular.”

This year, the Pepper Jelly Festival will host a 5K and Fun Run, a Domino Tournament, Alabama grown flowers and herbs, and a playground for kids. There will also be arts and crafts.

A domino tournament will be held in the Old Marengo County High School. There is a 12 team limit, with two people making up a team.

For the 5K run, awards will be given to top male and female overall and the top three places in age groups: 12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70-plus.

To guarantee a shirt on race day, you must submit your application by April 19, 2010

For more information, contact the Rural Heritage Center.