Pepper Jelly Festival – April 29, 2017

The Alabama Rural Heritage Center and The Town of Thomaston invite you to its annual Pepper Jelly Festival on April 29, 2017. This event centers around the restoration of the Marengo County High School grounds. It is a family-friendly event with plenty of food, entertainment by local talent, arts and crafts, as well as a time to visit with friends and family. Come enjoy the famous Thomaston Bar-b-cue! Get your jar of the most delicious pepper jelly this side of the Tombigbee. Entertainment includes Mitzi Gates, Trey Webb, Kayla Gill, Dana Thompson, Rebecca Vick to name a few! Excitement is in the air! The Town of Thomaston extends an invitation for all to come and experience a real down-home, old fashioned small town event! We start at 10:00 a.m. and the fun lasts through 3p.m.

Pepper Jelly Festival set for April 25

Spring in Marengo County means it’s time for the Pepper Jelly Festival in Thomaston sponsored by the Alabama Rural Heritage Center.

The family-friendly event kicks off Saturday, April 25, and will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Old Marengo County High School.

Children this year will have a chance to create their own artwork. Livingston art teacher Sheila Hall will work with them to paint a picture on canvas at no charge, thanks to an arts grant that the Center received, said Lisa Griffith, one of the festival’s coordinators.

Held for almost 30 years and formerly known as Rural Fun Day, the Festival was renamed eight years ago in recognition of the green and red pepper jelly made by volunteers in the Center’s own Mama Nem’s kitchen. The jelly is sold both locally and around the world.

This year’s festival promises a combination of the best in music with performances by Jill Tutt, the Britt Gully Band, the GPS Trio and Elvis, aka Ronnie Richardson.

No festival would be complete without food, and the Pepper Jelly Festival is no exception. Plate lunches of the always popular Thomaston barbeque, beans and salad will be sold for $10. Also available will be Mama Nem’s Chicken Salad. Complementing them will be vendors selling funnel cakes, pigskins, baked goods and polish sausage dogs.

In keeping with tradition, other vendors will display their unique crafts. Griffith said 28 vendors will be setting up booths, and more are expected.

Local artisans will demonstrate folk art favorites such as basket weaving, quilting, tatting and knapping. Artist Charlie Lucas, known as the Tin Man, will have his sculptures made of recycled materials on hand.

Griffith said the festival can draw up to 800 visitors. Only once that she knows of has the event been postponed because of the weather.

In August of 2003, the Alabama Rural Heritage Foundation, and the Rural Studio of the Auburn University architecture school began a partnership.  Five Auburn students in the Rural Studio Program, embarked on a thesis project to design and construct the Alabama Rural Heritage Center.

The students carried out renovations and the construction of a new 5,000 square-foot addition to the Home Economics building of the old Marengo County High School. The Foundation celebrated the grand opening of the new center on April 9, 2005.

The Alabama Rural Heritage Center has many other activities during the year in addition to the festival. The Center strives to enhance the lives of rural Alabamians and promote its rural heritage.