Michele Northrup has traveled the country doing food shows with celebrities like Paula Deen and Bobby Flay from the Food Network. The secret of her success? She thanks her lucky sauces for the newfound brushes with greatness.
Northrup creates award-winning hot sauces using the sweetness of carrots to balance the heat of peppers. Her Chai Thai Teriyaki sauce is a dream come true, she says.
"Many people say it's drinkable, spicy goodness. The smoothness of the organic tea and Thai peppers create a perfect balance. It's an amazing roasting sauce, stir-fry or marinade for chicken, pork, steak or veggies," said Northrup, who operates the Intensity Academy in Tampa, an outfit that produces all-natural hot sauces.
On Saturday, she will join a parade of more than 35 other Florida hot- and spicy-condiment vendors who will display their stuff at the third annual Pepper Fest in Pinellas Park. Hot sauces, pepper jellies, salsas, herbal spice rubs, beef jerky and barbecue sauces will be available for sampling and sale.
"If you're looking for unique spicy foods and sauces that you can't find in the local grocery, this is the event for you," said Reyna Martin, festival coordinator and co-owner of Your Hot Sauce Co. of St. Petersburg.
In addition to the sauces and even pepper plants, there will be gator tail, barbecued pork, stuffed peppers and smoked fish.
Pepper Fest will also feature crafters selling bottled pepper decor, semiprecious gems, crystals, antiques and jewelry; face painting for the kids; and live music from the Southern Fury Band.
A Jalapeno Pepper Eating Contest will be held at 1 p.m., with the winner earning bragging rights for one year.
Peddler's Market: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Grand Central District, between First Avenue N and First Avenue S, and 19th to 31st streets, St. Petersburg. grandcentraldistrict.org.
Taste of Pinellas: Bring your appetite to the annual food and music festival with tastes from 50 area restaurants, a beer garden, Kid Zone, Frisbee Dogs Disc-Connected K-9's, drum circles and more. Music includes KC and the Sunshine Band. Noon to 7 p.m. Vinoy Park, Fifth Avenue NE and North Shore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free admission. Food tickets: $5 for eight. Benefits All Children's Hospital. (727) 767-2001 or
Please do touch the art: Forget the "don't touch" rules normally found in museums and art galleries. "Experience" is an exhibit for all the senses and for people of all abilities. The fine art is meant to be touched, held, played with, heard and sniffed. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lighthouse of Pinellas, 6925 112th Circle N, Suite 103, Largo. (727) 544-4433 or lighthouseofpinellas.org.
Five in Fifteen: Make a guest-worthy five-course meal with only 15 ingredients. The menu includes chicken with diced lemon sauce and polenta with parmigiano-reggiano. 6:30 p.m. Foodies, 2312 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. $45. (727) 209-1418 or foodies.net.
Little Black Dress Night: Ladies, wear your favorite little black dress and receive complimentary wine from 9 p.m. to midnight. Table Restaurant, 539 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 823-6372.
Tuesdays with Morrie: See Jerrey Hatcher's comical and moving dramatization of Mitch Albom's bestselling novel. This is the first production in American Stage's new home. 7:30 p.m. American Stage at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. $31-$39, $10 student rush tickets available 10 minutes before curtain. (727) 823-7529.
'Paper: Off and On the Wall': More than 25 artists have created original, current wallpaper representations of chintzes, heavy damasks, chinoiseries and tromp l'oeil patterns, with influences of contemporary design. This event is part of Florida Craftsmen's fine craft and lifestyle series. Through July 24. Florida Craftsmen Galleries, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 821-7391 or floridacraftsmen.net.
'Film Lingual 3': Opening reception with live projection performances. Artists involved in the "Film Lingual 3" project include David Audet, Nancy Cervenka and Brandon Dunlap. 7 to 10 p.m.
C. Emerson Fine Arts, 909 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free admission. (727) 898-6068 or
First Friday Art Walk: Take a stroll around this expanded art village with arts and craft vendors, antique dealers, art demonstrations, live entertainment, and 20-minute classes in glass blowing. Also, weather permitting, star gazing with St. Petersburg Astronomy Club. 6 to 10 p.m. In the Gulfport Art District, south of 28th Avenue, on Beach Boulevard. Free trolley rides, pet friendly. Free. (727) 322-5217.
Swing time: Grab your partner and dancing shoes for a night of swing dancing to live music by the Venturas. Free swing lessons at 8 p.m. Dance exhibition at intermission. 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd. S. $11. (813) 274-4950 or swingtime.info.
Caring for Cattleyas: Learn how to provide the proper water, light, fertilizer to classic cattleya orchids in horticulture class. 11:30 a.m. June 6. Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free with Garden's admission, $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 kids 2-11. (727) 551-3102.
Flower and Garden Art Show: How about something for the garden that will not need watering? Show and sale of a wide selection of functional and decorative ceramic vessels, pots, sculptures, plaques and more, all handcrafted by local artists. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 6 and 7. St. Petersburg Clay Company, 420 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. Free admission. (727) 896-2529. stpeteclay.com.
Kickboxing Tournament: Kickboxers from New York and Tampa Bay square off in a full contact International Sport Karate Association tournament. 7 p.m. NOVA 535 Art Lounge, 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. $35. (727) 821-4097. nova535.com.
if you go
Third annual Pepper Fest
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: The England Brothers Bandshell Park, 5010 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park
Cost: Free admission and parking; concession prices vary
For information: Call (727) 423-8433 or visit online: