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Pepper Festival is this weekend

The North Hudson Pepper Festival starts Friday, August 14 and runs through Sunday with most activities taking place at Pepper Fest Park in North Hudson. The three-day celebration honors the community's Italian heritage and includes a carnival, parade, queen coronation, wide variety of food and many contests.

The Pepper Fest began in 1954 as a way to raise funds to build North Hudson Elementary School and has turned into an annual event to assist community organizations throughout the St. Croix Valley. Proceeds from the volunteer-run, non-profit festival are donated to local youth, school, community and service organizations.

Some of the highlights Friday are a talent show at 6 p.m., introduction of the 2010 queen candidates at 7:30 and a live band, Grilled Cheese, at 8:30.

Saturday highlights include the foot races at 7:15 a.m., a grand parade at 11, the spaghetti-eating contest at 4 p.m., hot pepper-eating contest at 6 and a live band, the Zebra Mussels, at 8:30.

Sunday highlights include the queen coronation at 3:30 p.m. and a live band, The Dweebs, at 7:30.

Talent search

The annual talent show is Friday at 6 p.m. with registration beginning at 5:30. Cash prizes are awarded in three age categories: 12 and younger, 13-17, 18 and up.

Foot races

The one-mile family fun walk/run, 5K and 10K runs are Saturday at the Village Hall. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. with the first race at 7:15. The entry fee is $15 for adults and $10 for kids 10 and under. All participants receive a T-shirt. Trophies are awarded to the top female and male winners of each age bracket of the 10K race and to the over-all female and male winners of the 5K race.

Kid, Doll, & Pet Parade

The fifth annual Kid, Doll and Pet Parade is scheduled at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, shortly before the grand parade begins at 11. Registration and line-up are from 8-10 a.m. in the parking lot of Bible Baptist Church, 545 Sixth St. N. The parade will end at Monroe St. Participants must be sixth grade or younger.

No motor-driven vehicles are permitted. Judging is based on originality, child participation, theme, and quality of construction. There will be prizes, treats, balloons, music and special appearances. This year's theme is Rock 'n' Pepper Fest. For more information, call Cheryl, (715) 377-1028, or Anita, (715) 381-1683.

Grand parade

The Pepper Fest Grand Parade is Saturday at 11 a.m. The parade begins at the intersection of Lemon and Michaelson streets, running west down Michaelson and then south on Sixth Street (Hwy. 35) to St. Croix Street.

Pepper cooking contest

The amateur food cooking contest is Saturday outside the Village Hall from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Categories are adult, and under 14. Adult categories are appetizer/side dish, main dish and dessert. The under 14 category is chef's choice. Each dish must contain peppers.

Volleyball tournament

The annual volleyball tournament begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at Mudds 'n' Sudds in North Hudson.

Eating contests

The championship spaghetti-eating contest begins at 4 p.m. Saturday. 15. Teams of five will eat one pound of spaghetti each for the top prize of $75 and a T-shirt for each winning team member. The second-place team earns $50. The entry fee is $25 with signup Saturday in the Pepper Fest office of the Village Hall.

The championship hot pepper-eating contest begins at 6 p.m. Teams of five will eat one pound of hot peppers each for the top prize of $200 and a T-shirt for each winning team member. The second-place team earns $100. The entry fee is $50 with signup Saturday in the Pepper Fest office of the Village Hall.

Live entertainment

This year's live entertainment includes Grilled Cheese on Friday at 8:30 p.m., Zebra Mussels on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and The Dweebs on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, go to