A Peek into Bower’s Chili Pepper Festival in Pennsylvania

SDM News

“Behavioral measures of risk taking, sensation seeking and sensitivity may reflect different motivations for spicy food liking and consumption.”

Risk takers in the house? Well hello!

It is said that humans are the only species that likes and actively seeks out spicy flavors as social and cultural factors come into play and triggers the thrill of taste.

In Pennsylvania, one of the spiciest way to fill a weekend in September is to hold a Chile festival where hot sauces made out of smoked crabby pepper poppers, chocolate habanero and so much more are dished out to people.

The annual event held in Bill DeLong Park at 233 Bowers road, Mertztown PA 19539, Pennsylvania is commonly known as the Chile pepper festival. 

Located in the south eastern part of Pennsylvania Berks County, the small community comes to life at the festival each year.


Founded in 1955 by two daring chefs, Chef John Bixler and Chef Chris Markey, the two men had wanted to create a food inspired festival that would bring together locals and foreigners. Food, they say, is the way to a man’s heart.

However, the festival would not be a success today without the sponsorship of Meadowview farm, a local hot pepper farm at 120 college Hwy, Southwick, MA 01077.

The unique place having a blend of different hot food condiments, with wonderful wines, mustards, desserts, drinks to mention a few was a bit of a puzzle when it began as people found the idea quite amusing but weird still.

Who said normal was fun anyway? Today, the festival is being looked forward to yearly with over ten thousand visitors trooping to have their best time.

Held after Labor Day each year, the Chile pepper festival from September 10 to September 11 is the largest of its kind anywhere in the United States and hosts events such as Chile pepper food, crafts, Jalapeno eating contest, a salsa contest, and Chile pepper field excursion amid others.

The Chile pepper field excursion involves interested visitors going out to the field to pick their own peppers and as well get enlighten about them with explanatory details on best places to buy the carefully concerted spicy sauces like heirloom tomatoes, squash and pumpkins. Feel free to explore your taste buds.


The festival, although an highlight is not just about the hot sauces, so much fun to be enjoyed by visitors are provided and one of the nicest things about the park is that it is family friendly and has a handicap accessible park featuring a playground.

Offering a free parking at the park, a ticket fee of $4 donation is collected and we have to agree that is extremely affordable.

One of the things to look forward to is the Scoville scale. As nice as these peppers look, an interesting fact about them is they have various heat levels and the Scoville scale is used to measure that.

Different hot peppers like Sweet Bell Pepper, Pepperoncini Pepper, Poblano, Habanero, Smoking Ed’s Carolina Reaper Pepper amidst others are measured yearly and if you want to know the amount of heat of what you consume, you might want to pack your bags for September.

Both days of the festival features live music from the Acoustic Roadshow which showcases local musicians.

Providing samples and amazing vendors for various sauces, jams, popcorn and so much more. The fiery festival is definitely not one to miss out on.

The festival in addition is also called a rain or shine event, so do not forget your umbrella or raincoat.

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