The word around the Village of Keremeos is that things are about to get spicy, as Canada’s only celebration of peppers returns on Saturday, Sept. 23.
“It’s usually a beautiful September day for Canada’s only hot pepper festival,” says organizer Vanessa Schwoegler-Abbott, “and it’s always stunning here in the Similkameen!”
The Sizzle Market will be full of fresh hot pepper products from jams and jellies to salsas, spreads and much more to take home, but while pepper afficionados are shopping for something spicy, they can also stop by a local food truck for a bite or begin their Saturday at a pancake breakfast.
A range of tasty options will be available throughout the day, and hot peppers will be the featured ingredient in two competitions.
For those not afraid of a kick to the tastebuds, the hot pepper eating contest takes place in the afternoon, with cash and product prizes for winners.
“It might be more fun for spectators to watch who can handle the heat. With more than 200 varieties of peppers, there’s bound to be one that stands out for the contestants!” says Schwoegler-Abbott. “You can sign up in advance, but in the spur of the moment if you decide to compete, you can do that too, but bring your I.D. as you must be at least 19-years-old to enter the challenge.”
Local restaurants are invited to enter the Similkameen Chili Cook Off challenge for culinary bragging rights; email [email protected] for details and to enter.
New this year is Sip & Sizzle with the Similkameen Independent Winegrowers Association, a tasting event from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. featuring 14 fine wines, ciders, and spirits. One-ounce tastings are $1 each, and if you discover a new favourite, bottle sales will be available.
“We’ve got live music, plenty of activities for the kids, a 50-50 draw, beverage garden and so much more,” says Schwoegler-Abbott, “and we couldn’t do it without our fantastic volunteers and amazing local support. The Sizzle is the hottest festival in the Interior, we can’t wait to welcome everyone!”
More info, including the entertainment schedule, can be found online here.