Colorful floats and performing bands in the parade, pepper-eating contests, live music headlined by JB & the Moonshine Band, festival food such as turkey legs and funnel cakes and rides and activities in the Little Pepper Kids Zone made the Hot Pepper Festival in downtown Palestine the “Hottest Little Festival in Texas” Saturday.
“We had lots of vendors, lots of food, lots of music and lots of fun for the kids,” Hot Pepper Festival co-director Heather Hrebec said Monday. “The weather held out and JB and the Moonshine Band gave us a great show! All in all it was a great day to be in Palestine.”
Hot Pepper Festival Co-Director Roy Crouch agreed.
“We had approximately 10,000 attend the festival with 3,200 to 3,500 attending the JB & The Moonshine Band concert on the main stage Saturday night,” Crouch said. “It was a packed house and a very exciting environment. I think they put on an outstanding concert for our community.”
The festival kicked off on Friday night with live music in The Hollow in Old Town Palestine.
Festivities continued on Saturday starting with the Hot Pepper Express Parade featuring a myriad of floats, classic cars, fire trucks and bands. Westwood, Elkhart and Palestine bands performed with Trinity Valley Community College's band and the Cardettes making a special appearance.
Winning first place in the non-commercial float category (with cash prizes) was the Palestine Police Department's Hot Pepper Express train float. Rotary Club of Palestine won second place and Anderson County Roughnecks won third place.
In the commercial float category, Hometown Girls won first place, Shorin Ryu Karate Academy won second place and Barber Creekside Daycare won third place.
Westwood High School's Panther Band won first place in the band category with Elkhart High School coming in second place. Palestine High School's band did not register to compete in the competition.