A CHILLI festival promises to be a seriously hot ticket when it brings a world of spice to Wharf Green next month.

The fourth annual fiesta will include a 'clash of the titans' pepper eating competition to find a diner with a truly fire-proof palate.

The tongue-scalding face-off will involve some of the hottest chillies in the world and requires contestants to be over 18, have no serious medical conditions and to sign a waiver beforehand. For those who prefer a more moderate heat, the free festival will have a host of stalls and events throughout the day, with the chance to browse all things chilli-related over a beer or mojito made from the pungent fruit.

Eighteen exhibitors include some of the best producers from across the UK displaying peppery jams, dips, chutney, chocolate and drinks.

A barbecue, plants and seeds and music will also put the heat into the town centre next month.

However, it's the survival of the fittest that promises to be a show-stopper - especially for the contestants.

Founder Alexander Mustang, a former graphic designer turned chilli entrepreneur and advocate, said: "In past years we gave prizes to the winners, but this time it will be a T-shirt which will have the champion's title and the date, it will be the only one of its kind.

"At another venue in 2013 the response was overwhelming, the fight for the T-shirt went down a storm, it was a really fierce battle.

"In Swindon it will also be a case of last man standing. it's like a gladiatorial arena in the days of Rome.

"It's a question of inflicting pain on oneself and withstanding more suffering than your opponent, all for the pleasure of the spectators."

The contestants will brave a singeing gauntlet of peppers with names like Bullets, Punjabi Crackers, Rockets and Scorpions, as well as the more familiar Caribbean Scotch bonnet variety. - eating at least one of each.

"After the chillies start registering100,000 plus on the Scoville Heat Unit it's a case of literally watching them fall," Alexander said.

"We don't believe in draws, only winners. It's a sight to behold."

Alexander originally started the festival to help a friend lift a local economy in Sussex, wanting to creating an event that wasn't just another generic food festival.

The peppery homage launched in 2011 and quickly became a popular draw, leading to the creation of not-for-profit food festival business Chilli Fest UK.

Exhibitors are carefully selected to give independent businesses a platform at the events, which now take place across the country.

"The independents offer products to see, eat and drink that you can't experience anywhere else, " Alexander said.

"It's like the chilli equivalent of Christmas, it only comes round once a year, and people are attracted to that different side of it.

"The best way of describing it is like a food democracy, it's the republic of chill. We do it for fun, but if people say they want this, who are we to say no?"

The free event, organised alongside inSwindon BID, is expected to attract around 3,000 visitors to Wharf Green over the day.

Last year's instalment didn't fail to turn up the heat, with five spice warriors engaging in the chilli-eating contest, which featured the infamous Carolina Reaper pepper,

This year's exhibitors are Pieroth, a chilli plants artist, Pimento, Thunder Road, Fallen Angel, Aunty Jee, Naga Dips, Naga Masala, Green Olives, Purbeck, a Pizza Topping, Manny Sauces, Sun Wah Chilli Oils, Cheese Bomb Gifts, Chilli Cheese Man, a barbecue and Redwolf Vodka Bar.

*The festival takes place at Wharf Green on Saturday July 29 between 10.30am-5.30pm. Visit: www.chillifest.net or follow @chilli_festival