The Little Village Celebration with a Big Italian Flavor

The three-day celebration honors the community’s Italian heritage and includes a 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.

Pepperfest Milestones

2016 The “3 Little Peppers” from 1955 ride in the parade as Grand Marshals!
2012 New float is built by The Club of Pepper Kings
The Button Logo is On Top of Spaghetti and King Dan, Queen Megan and Princesses Becca and Katy win the Royalty Spaghetti Eating Contest!
King Dave, Queen Katie and Princesses Gwen, Amanda and Ashton set a new record of winning 16 parade awards, including the King Boreas Trophy at the St. Paul Winter Carnival!
2004 Pepper Fest Celebrates 50 years of HOT STUFF!
2003 King Dave has accident prone reign. Ask him to show you his battle scar from the fight with the float pepper leaf. And beware to have him on our bed racing team – sometimes he has trouble staying on his feet!
2002 Festival begins slowly as rain puts a damper on Friday night festivities.
2001 Grand Marshall Sam Ricci travels from Las Vegas to North Hudson to participate in the Grand Parade.
2000 Pepper Festival gave back over $22,000 to the Hudson Area.
1999 St. Paul Winter Carnival presents 1999 Royalty with King Boreas Award! King Ed & court truly have a HOT! HOT! HOT! summer with record breaking heat wave in July.
1998 Royalty wins record 9 awards, including St. Paul Winter Carnival Queen of the Snows Award!
1997 Float was “redesigned” by Royal Families. Village Inn Hot Pepper Eating team takes 1st at Cumberland Rutabega Fest!
1996 Queen Alli Pawlenty sets record at Royalty Spaghetti Eating Contest-9 seconds for 1/2 pound!
1995 July hailstorm damages pepper crop at Costa Farms in Stillwater-after some scrambling, peppers obtained through Twin Cities Produce.
1994 KARE-TV & WCCO-TV cover the Festival. Almost ran out of food!
1989 Another Winter Carnival Award–The West Wind Award!
1988 90 m.p.h. winds close down the Fest immediately following coronation. An “I Survivied” party was held in September. New float designed; float wins award at Minneapolis Aquatennial.
1985 Pepper Fest float wins East Wind Award at St. Paul Winter Carnival.
1983 Festival opens with helium balloon release.
1982 Paper-mache pepper fell off float.
1980 Pepper eating teams: Sam’s Afterburners and Blond-Haired Italians. Miss Pepper Face rides in the parade.
1977 KSTP-TV & WCCO-TV covered the festival
1976 Land for Pepper Fest Park bought by village; full Royalty coronation returns.
1974 Pepper Fest returns; held in Sam’s Italian Restaurant parking lot.
1963-1973? Pepper Fest takes a hiatus
1959 Dan Zezza made Lefsa-Ljetz-Italian Sausage wrapped in Norwegian Lefse.
1957 An elephant in the parade made a big mess on the street.
1956 J.P. Patches, Casey Jones and Bill the Cook from WTCN-TV (Ch. 11) attended.
1955 An airplane dropped cash and candy for the kids, and the parade went from Coulee Road to North Hudson.
1954 First official festival to raise funds for the North Hudson School.