What to See and Taste at BBG’s Chile Pepper Festival

Don’t burn your tongue at the hottest party of the year, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual ode to the superhot fruit.

Photo by Liz Ligon/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Normally, the worst trouble you can get into at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a little bout of hay fever in the Fragrance Garden. Things get excitingly riskier on Saturday, September 28, when the BBG welcomes its annual Chile Pepper Festival back for the 27th year. Anticipate scorched taste buds and heartburn on Monday morning.

More than 40 local vendors will be on-site peddling what the BBG calls “volcanic victuals,” which includes hot sauces, chocolates, salsas, sweets, pickles, honey, yogurt, and (yes, really) beer.

bbg chile pepper festival
Photo by Julie Markes/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Chile Festival offers more than just a shopping mart for those who like it hot. There are also scheduled talks with cookbook author Diana Kuan and BBG guide Caitlin Marinelli; cooking demos with John Verlander and Red Hook Initiative; a kids’ workshop, where little ones can pot their own pepper plants; plus stilt walkers and an explosive hot pepper–eating contest.

But what is a day out without music? The Chile Festival has a special evening concert featuring N’awlins legends, including sets from legendary “soul queen” Irma Thomas; Frenchman Street blues master Walter “Wolfman” Washington alongside his band the Roadmasters; leader of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe, “Big Chief Monk” Boudreaux; and the funkiest pianist in Nola, John “Papa” Gros.

Photo by Leon Morris/Courtesy of WWOZ New Orleans

The 27th Annual Chile Pepper Festival
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Entrances at 150 Eastern Parkway, 455 Flatbush Avenue, and 990 Washington Avenue, Crown Heights
Saturday, September 28
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
$30 for adults; $25 for students and seniors

Taste buds on fire? Swing by Butter & Scotch for cool ice cream floats—and download the app for more suggestions!