North Hudson’s little village celebration is about to get bigger.
The Pepper Fest Board has purchased a house and property adjacent to Pepper Fest Park. The land will expand Pepper Fest Park, and the board plans to build a community center in the future.
The addition will expand the footprint of Pepper Fest, said Board Vice President Holly Steele.
“It will still be, of course, that same small town festival,” she said. “But we’re a growing community so there’ll be more room.”
The additional space will allow for more rides starting at this year’s event, and the eventual community center will provide an indoor spot for the festival aspects like food and bathrooms.
“We had to do it,” Pepper Fest Board President Tim Zais said. “Just in general, you have to do something like this when you have the opportunity.”
The former owner, Jan Iverson, has allowed Pepper Fest to use some of the property in the past for the event. Now, it will be named after her.
“We want it to be a nice community area to come and use on the weekends,” Zais said.
It will be something that the community can benefit from year-round, Steele said, not just on Pepper Fest weekend. The opportunity to create more green space is rare, she said, and she’s glad they have it.
Work on the community center will begin after the property is paid off. That timeline is currently estimated for five years, but Zais said he’s hoping they can shorten it.
The board will then work with the community on the design for the center. Zais said they’ll be looking for input from everyone, including the village board, nonprofits and community members.
“Expect a lot of fundraisers and expect a lot of support with the community,” Zais said.
North Hudson doesn’t currently have anything like the planned community center, Zais said, where space can be used and rented by the community.
“It’s not just benefiting Pepper Fest, but essentially it will benefit North Hudson and the greater community.”
When completed, the board will give the center to the village.
“That’s our whole premise, giving back to the community,” Steele said. “This is just a fun new avenue of doing that.”
They’re excited to have it all done and open to the public, Zais said. Until then, they’ll see everyone at Pepper Fest, Aug. 16-18.