The Similkameen Sizzle Pepper Festival kicks off Friday with the Friday Night Dance featuring a long list of local performers. (Facebook photo)

The Similkameen Sizzle Pepper Festival kicks off Friday with the Friday Night Dance featuring a long list of local performers. (Facebook photo)

Festival of all things spicy kicks off in the Similkameen

Organizers say Sizzle keeps getting bigger and bigger

The Similkameen Sizzle Pepper Festival keeps getting bigger and bigger.

READ MORE: Similkameen orchardists file lawsuit over ancestral remains site

“The last two years, we’ve put the sizzle on the map,” said organizer Colleen Christensen, adding the two-day event — Sept. 20 and 21 this year in Keremeos’ Memorial Park — has grown about 50 per cent in 10 years.

One of the main factors it has become popular over the years is that people are drawn to it because it is specifically a pepper festival, she said.

“When you talk about a pepper festival everybody says, ‘What? A pepper festival?’ That’s the thing that tweaks people’s interest,” she said. “There are a whole bunch of fall fairs but when you say pepper festival they want to know more about it.”

The hot pepper eating contest, which takes place on Saturday at 4 p.m., is the most popular event, she added.

“It is extremely popular. The park can be empty and all of a sudden the pepper eating contest is happening and you look around and the park is full. People actually come back just to watch,” said Christensen, adding the chili cook-off at 11 a.m. is also popular.

The Friday Night dance kicks off the festival with a slew of local performers. It opens with the Oxbow Swamp Revue, and the headlining band is The Organic Humans.

Saturday kicks off with pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. with vendors opening at 9 a.m. There will be live entertainment all day from DJ JD. Also on Saturday, there will be a hot sauce, salsa and everything else pepper contest and hot pepper display.

Christensen said she has been working on the organizing committee for 10 years and remembers a time when it was just a small community event.

READ MORE: Show off your best apple pie recipe at the Heritage Fall Fair in Keremeos

“It was a very low-key Similkameen event. We did all the stuff that we do now but it was done in a very low-key way. We didn’t have the funding that we needed,” she said. “Back in the day, it was only the one day. When it was first going on, we only had the dinner and the dance on the same day.

“We had the chili cook-off, the hot pepper eating contest and always had vendors in the park. And we always had breakfast so the basics were there.”

Another major thing that makes the festival popular is that it is free.

“That’s what is special about this event. We’ve made it so that is affordable as can be and fun.”

While they don’t have exact numbers of how many people come to Keremeos at the time, they do come from around the region and west coast, she said.

The family-friendly event also features a bouncy castle and play and spray kids’ area.

To report a typo, email: editor@keremeosreview.com.


@KeremeosReview
editor@keremeosreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Cops for Kids riders will be spinning 30 feet in the air on scissor lifts at SaveOn Foods locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna Saturday, May 8, 2021. (File photo)
Cops reach new heights for Okanagan kids

Nor-Val Rentals is doing the heavy lifting Saturday in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Kiley and her sisters-in-law Jacqueline Olson and Heidi Routley will be participating in the Sleep Out: Home Edition event May 28, 2021. (Contributed)
North Okanagan trio to sleep rough to raise funds for homeless youth

Back to Earth team of Lavington aim to raise $5K in support of the cause

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
Accessibility concerns raised as Kelowna ponders banning vehicles from Knox Mountain

Knox Mountain Drive, which leads to two lookouts, has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began

(Pixabay photo)
Cow-based wildfire mitigation pilot contended by Southeast Kelowna group

‘Targeted grazing’ program would see 50 cows deployed to 60-hectare parcel above Field Road

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Most Read