Come to Beaver Dam to the Beaver Dam Pepper Festival. Enjoy the delicious food made with the Beaver Dam Heirloom Pepper. This is the second year for this highly anticipated event and it promises to be bigger and better. Saturday, September 12th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Beaver Dam will welcome folks to eat, shop, and enjoy the festivities planned to celebrate one of the area’s best kept secrets, the Beaver Dam ‘Heirloom’ Pepper.
The festival will feature food, fun, music and crafts for all ages. It will also provide an opportunity to discover the fascinating history of the Beaver Dam Pepper and its origins. One must savor the taste in order to understand what makes it so special. “The Beaver Dam Pepper is an heirloom with a great story to celebrate,” says Diana Ogle, shopping center manager.
The Beaver Dam Pepper has been celebrated elsewhere in the country including a festival in Chicago two years ago in honor of the pepper seed’s arrival in the U.S. a century ago. Its unusual history has earned prime coverage on public radio both in Wisconsin and out of state.
“This pepper has created a stir among those who enjoy good food and has been celebrated by organizations like Slow Food,” said Ogle. “Several of us who discovered the history have been working diligently to bring community groups and organizations together to host a marvelous celebration of the Beaver Dam Pepper locally … where it all started.”
The Beaver Dam Pepper Festival is being created to introduce people to the delicious flavor and complexity of this heirloom pepper and provide an opportunity for folks in this area to come to see what all the fuss is about. “We also want to share the pepper’s rich history and demonstrate the importance of preserving heirloom food traditions,” Diana added. This Hungarian heirloom was brought to Beaver Dam in 1912 by the Joe Hussli family. The Hussli’s were Hungarian immigrants who brought this special vegetable with them to be able to grow it in the new country. The pepper seed is available from just a handful of mail order seed companies in the U.S. and Canada and its future is largely in the hands of these seed-saving companies. Plants are available in the spring at several local greenhouses thanks to renewed interest in this unique heirloom variety.
Chris and Tim Csiacsek say the Hussli family were not the only ones to recognize the value of bringing the seed from this outstanding pepper with them when they came to this country. Seeds were actually brought here by a couple of families. Chris is organizing pepper genealogy for a booth at the festival that features the history of this heirloom fruit.
Festival activities include music by country music singer Gary Cross. There will also be the ballooning, magic, music and more show by Mr. Steve. Various foods will be featured throughout the day by local chefs. The Beaver Dam Area Arts Association Songwriters group will perform. Visitors can also enjoy square dance demonstrations, an historical booth highlighting the history of the pepper, music by Dave and Carol Crawford, face painting, theater performance by the Beaver Dam Community Theater , and craft projects for kids will be some of the activities offered at the festival.
“Come celebrate with us!” The event will be held in a portion of the parking lot of Park Village Shopping Center right on SR33 right off of Hwy 151. For more information go to www.beaverdampepperfestival.com.