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Pepper Fest set in North Hudson this weekend

The 2014 North Hudson Pepper Festival is Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 15, 16 & 17), marking the 60th anniversary since starting in 1954.

The annual event assists community organizations throughout the St. Croix Valley. Proceeds from the volunteer-run, nonprofit festival are donated to local youth, school, community and service organizations.


The Pepper Fest Grand Parade is Saturday, Aug 16, at 11 a.m.  The parade begins at the intersection of Lemon and Michaelson streets, running west down Michaelson and then south on 6th Street (Hwy. 35) to St. Croix Street. The parade features nearly 150 units.

Tractor pull

The children’s tractor pull, sponsored by Freedom Valu Center, is Sunday, Aug. 17, at noon. Registration is at 11:30 a.m. Located in the street in front of the Village Hall, the event is open to boys and girls ages 4-12 years old.

There will be nine divisions by age (mixing boys and girls). Each contestant must register prior to the event and have a parent’s or guardian’s signature on the registration form. Pedal tractors for each age group and the weight skid and weights are provided. The top three pullers who pull the weighted sled the greatest distance in their age group will receive a trophy.

Trophies awarded for first, second and third place in each age group. Children may not place their hands on the tractor tire at any time during their pull to help increase their pulling distance. Children may not place one or both feet on the ground to push the tractor forward. The child must remain in the seat at all times. Contestants must be able to pedal the tractor without assistance.

In case of a tie, there will be a pull off to determine the winner.

All participants must wear shoes, no bare feet.

All rulings by track officials are final. The pull ends when the tractor has crossed the finish line or the tractor stops moving, whichever occurs first.


On the main stage, the bands featured for 2014 will be Devon Worley, sponsored by Hudson Ford, on Friday night; Rhino, sponsored by The Village Inn, on Saturday Night; and The Dweebs, sponsored by Westconsin Credit Union, on Sunday Night.

Beer garden entertainment will include Darren Caster on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and Jim Burger on Sunday from 1-3:30 p.m.

Royalty, candidates

The public is invited to meet the 2014 Royalty – King Ron Ruettimann, Queen Lizz Denning and princesses Margaret Koehler, Samantha Miller and BZ Germain; and the 16 candidates vying for a position on the 2015 Royalty on Friday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m.. Introductions and fishbowl questions will take place on the main stage.

The coronation is Sunday, Aug. 17, at 3:30 p.m. on the main stage. All past Pepper Fest kings, queens and princesses are invited to the stage following coronation for a large group photo.

Pepper power

In the spirit and celebration of Pepper Fest’s 60th anniversary, Pepper Fest is bringing back a little history. The inspiration stemmed from a picture from 1977 of lifetime resident and “Godfather” Tony Zappa by the big green King’s Pepper, where Tony was wearing a shirt that said “Pepper Power.” The shirts will be for sale, along with many other merchandise items throughout the weekend.


Everyone’s favorite homemade Italian food will be available at the main food tent Friday from 6 p.m.-midnight; Saturday from noon-midnight; and Sunday noon-11 p.m. The pizza booth on Friday will feature Kozy Korner pizza; Saturday, Carbone’s downtown pizza; and Sunday will feature Village Inn Sports Bar Pizzeria.

Fun Zone

There will be a new fun zone for kids of all ages featuring a Jurassic Survivor obstacle course, carousel bouncer, safari toddler zone and home run derby inflatables; a dunk tank and kids games. The hours for the fun zone will be Friday from 6 p.m.-sundown; Saturday, 1 p.m.-sundown; and Sunday, noon-sundown.

Eating contests

The championship spaghetti eating contest is Saturday. Aug. 16, at 4 p.m. Located on the stage, teams of five can compete by eating three-quarters of a pound of spaghetti each. Teams can sign up in the Pepper Fest office. The fee is $25/team. First place winners earn $125/team and championship T-shirts; second place is $75/team.

The championship hot pepper eating contest, sponsored by Family Fresh Market, is Saturday, Aug. 16, at 5:30 p.m. Also located on the stage, teams of five can compete by eating one pound of hot peppers each. Teams can sign up in the Pepper Fest office. Fee are $50 per team. First place winners earn $250/team and championship T-shirts; Second place is $150/team.

Cooking Contest

The amateur food cooking contest is Sunday, Aug. 17, from 1-3 p.m. outside the Village Hall. Categories include 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. There is a maximum of two entrees per person or one entrée per category per age group. Only entrees with recipes included will be allowed to display and compete. If needing electricity: power cords must be supplied by contestant. Registration forms can be found on and should be filled out prior to contest start. For more information contact Anita at (715) 781-0480.

Pepper Fest Schedule

Friday, Aug. 15

6 p.m.-midnight: Food booths - Kozy Korner pizza tent

6 p.m.-sundown: Fun zone

6 p.m.-midnight: Beer garden, mechanical bull and Hammerschlagen

7-11 p.m.: Bingo

6–6:45 p.m.: Introduction of 2014 Royalty

6:45-7:30 p.m.: Introductions of 2015 queen candidates and fish bowl questions

8 p.m.-midnight: Live music by Devon Worley, sponsored by Hudson Ford

Saturday, Aug. 16

6:30-7:15 a.m.: Foot race registration

7:15 a.m.: One-mile family fun walk/run

7:30 a.m.: 5K & 10K Run, sponsored by Hudson Bowling Center, Victory 4 You Fitness, Touching Hearts at Home, Orange Leaf, Valley Orthodontics, Gagnon, Inc. and  Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Company

9–10:30 a.m.: Royalty brunch

10 a.m.: Parade lineup

11 a.m.: Pepper Fest grand parade

Noon-midnight: Food booths - downtown Carbone's pizza tent

Noon-midnight: Beer garden, mechanical bull and Hammerschlagen 

1 p.m.-sundown: Fun zone, dunk tank and kids games

1-4 p.m.: Bean bag tournament at the beer garden

1-5 p.m.: Bingo

1 p.m.: Royalty spaghetti eating contest

4 p.m.: Championship spaghetti eating contest

5:30 p.m.: Championship hot pepper eating contest sponsored by Family Fresh Market

6-11 p.m.: Bingo

8 p.m.-midnight: Live band – Rhino, sponsored by The Village Inn

Sunday, Aug. 17

11:30 a.m.: Tractor pull registration

Noon: Children’s tractor pulls sponsored by Freedom Valu Center

Noon-2:30 p.m.: Bingo

Noon-11 p.m.: Food booths - Village Inn Sports Bar Pizzeria tent

Noon-sundown: Fun zone, dunk tank and kids games

Noon-11:30 p.m.: Beer garden, mechanical bull and Hammerschlagen 

1-3 p.m.: Cooking contest

3:30-5:30 p.m.: Royalty coronation

5:45-9:30 p.m.: Bingo

7:30-11:30 p.m.: Live band - The Dweebs, sponsored by Westconsin Credit Union

Doug Stohlberg

Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

(715) 808-8600