Pepper Jelly Festival is Saturday

Published 8:44 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

THOMASTON –  The Water tower in Thomaston displays a curious phrase to travelers passing through the area, “EAT PEPPER JELLY”. It just takes a visit to the Rural Heritage Center to find out that Pepper Jelly is only a taste of what the town of Thomaston has to offer.

This weekend the Alabama Rural Heritage Center celebrates homemade food, art, and music from throughout the Black Belt Region of Alabama and Mississippi at its fourth annual Pepper Jelly Festival today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s festival features the Sucarnochee Revue to commemorate the 2011 year of Alabama Music. The line-up of Sucarnochee Revue Performers will include: J. Burton Fuller, B.J. Miller, Track 45, Britt Gully and the Water Moccasins and host Jacky Jack White. The Sucarnochee Revue is a one hour Radio program broadcasting on 55 stations worldwide featuring the musicians from the Black Belt Region.

Before the festival, at 8:30 a.m., runners can join in for the Pepper Jelly 5K Run. Additionally, the Pepper Jelly Festival will feature a local food show with free samples of everything from pies and pralines to salsa and quiches.

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Visitors can also enjoy demonstrations of sculpture by “The Tinman” Charlie Lucas, flint knapping by Billy Skinner and quilt making by Mary Pettway of the famous Gee’s Bend quilters. A petting zoo and craft activities will be available for children.

The Alabama Rural Heritage Foundation celebrated the grand opening of the Rural Heritage Center in 2005 following a partnership with the University of Auburn Rural Studio Architecture Program. It has since become a hub for education and events related to food and culture.

The event will also feature a regional food show.

This show was made possible by a grant awarded from Ala-Tom Rural Conservation and Development and the Pepper Jelly Food Show Sponsor, Robertson Banking Company.

Participating will be local food entrepreneurs from the region including The Pie Lab in Greensboro, Maplesville Florist and Bake Shop, casseroles by Joyce Rylee from Selma, sauces, dips and jellies by Dunk’s from Fosters, NeNe’s Nibbles (Denise Pope) will have cheese straws, biscotti by Rita Wright from Linden and Richardson’s Creole Confections (Bill Richardson) with New Orleans style pralines and, of course, Mama N’ems famous Pepper Jelly.

The free food tasting will take place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. All of the food items will be available for sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.