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Interested mentoring a young person
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Steak is What's On in Ave Maria Jan. 30

steak400Gino Campobasso might be a whiz at whipping up pasta, pizza and other Italian specialties served at his new restaurant, Trattoria Per Tutti of Ave Maria. But can he similarly dazzle the tastebuds with an American staple – steak?

Mr. Campobasso has entered one of 18 grill teams that will be vying for honors Jan. 30 at the annual Sunshine State Steak Cookoff in the town center of Ave Maria.

gino1The popular event, the largest steak cookoff east of the Mississippi, has been serving up more than a thousand steaks in each of its previous five years. This year's entrants come from across southwest Florida, said Tom Smith, one of the event organizers.

"I'm excited just to participate," Mr. Campobasso (left) said. "This is all new to me, and it's the first event that we're going to be a part of in Ave Maria." He said he'll be trying out a few marinades in the next week to prepare.

Although steak is the main attraction, there will be music all afternoon with the Ben Allen Band, a silent auction and bounce houses and other activities for kids.

Grill teams will parade beginning at 10:50 p.m., coals are lit at 3 p.m. and the steak serving lines open at 5 p.m. Awards will be announced at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $22 on the day of the event, and include a steak, potato, roll, salad and water. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund that helps students from lower-income families attend the Rhodora Donahue Academy in Ave Maria.

Tickets can be purchased at the Ave Maria welcome center or online by clicking here.

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