15th annual Pepperfest set for Sunday


PepperFest, Chatham County’s annual celebration of regenerative agriculture, local farmers, and the creativity of the Piedmont’s top chefs and beverage artisans, is set for Sunday at The Plant on Lorax Lane in Pittsboro. It’ll take place beginning at 3 p.m. and wrap with music and an afterparty with the band ¡Tumbao! at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $55; for more information, go to

It’s presented by Abundance NC. 

For a preview, we spoke with its executive director, Ally DeJong.

Will there be peppers at PepperFest? 

Yes! We buy peppers from local farmers, give them to local chefs and beverage makers, and then the community comes out to sample and dance to live music! 

What’s different about this year? 

We are highlighting the medicinal and herbal benefits of cayenne! We also will have The RT’s and Tumbao playing the stage this year. We’ve got some new chefs and some hometown favorites coming out. 

What can those who attend expect?

We will celebrate outside The Plant, a 16-acre eco-industrial park of like-minded businesses and surrounded by nature on occupied Tuscarora land.

We will host around 500 folks who enjoy vibrant connection, live music and filling up on delicious pepper-themed dishes and beverages made with delicious, locally grown sweet, hot and smoky N.C. peppers. Chefs and beverage makers compete for awards. Foodies taste all the different dishes made from peppers grown in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Children run wild, folks dance, laugh and enjoy the many different creations. Pepper awards are crowned, local businesses and nonprofits share their offering and we all go home very happy, full and spicy!

What about the music?

We will have live music with our opener, The RT’s, and then partying it up until 7 p.m. with ¡Tumbao!, an acrobatic Imagine Circus performance, an artistic educational and cultural walk-through, a 21+ lounge, a kid’s zone with a cooking class and pepper arts and crafts by Circle City Supper Club, vendors, a small farmers’ market and fun for the entire family.

What’s the story with ¡Tumbao!? 

¡Tumbao! is a high-energy Latin Fusion band formed by seven seasoned musicians from various genres and backgrounds — and we mean all different types — that creates a sound reflecting the many flavors of Latin America. ¡Tumbao! offers a taste of Salsa, Bossa, Funk, Cumbia, Latin-Rock, R&B, Jazz, and Brass. 

Formed in 2019, the band has taken to new heights and popularity rapidly throughout venues in the South Eastern circuit and beyond. Most recently featured on PBS, the NCMA, with performances in festival circuits such as Shakori Hills and multiple publications, the electric sound of ¡Tumbao! keeps crossing more and more barriers captivating listeners of every age and every background.

How can people support this festival? 

Buy a ticket even if you can’t come. This money goes directly to our little nonprofit and shows us that people are backing the festival! You could also become a sponsor of the event through an organization or personally with a donation. We will get you all the benefits, complimentary tickets, and your name on various materials to be promoted throughout the community and event itself! If you love this event please consider donating or buying a ticket! 

Is there any longer term help needed? 

We are actively looking for organizations that want to help us plan this event and multiple its impact — and survive! 

What else is happening at Abundance?

We also have Death Faire in November, a benefit concert, and launching our rebranded-ness in the winter. We’re different now, but still rooted.

Pepperfest, Abundance NC, The Plant, Community Events


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