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Cape restaurant hosts decorated pumpkin contest for local youth

By Staff | Oct 21, 2009

Outback Steakhouse on Pine Island Road is hosting a contest featuring pumpkins decorated by elementary school students.
Voting on the creations continues until Monday.
Owner Scott Chausse said he delivered pumpkins, donated by his produce company, to Caloosa, Diplomat and Gulf elementary schools last week to provide second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students with an opportunity to decorate them.
A week after he dropped them off, he went back to the schools to pick up approximately 30 decorated pumpkins and brought them back to his restaurant. He said he has them scattered around the restaurant so visitors can vote on their favorite.
Chausse said a free Outback dinner will be provided to the winner, which will be announced on Halloween night.
“Whichever pumpkin wins, they all win dinner,” he said, referring to the students and teacher.
Chausse said that this is the first year he is holding the contest and Tuesday was the first day he had the pumpkins on display for people to vote — 60 votes had already been cast.
“I didn’t think we would have as many people excited about it as we did,” he said.
Chausse said individuals just walked around the restaurant and voted on the pumpkins, which he was pleasantly surprised about.
He said that when he visited the elementary schools to drop off the pumpkins, the teachers were appreciative of the project due to the lack of funding the schools are experiencing.
“I was very happy how the teachers received it,” Chausse said.
One of the elementary schools bought art supplies so the students could decorate the pumpkins in a variety of ways, such as Sponge Bob Square Pants, a hamburger and a pink M&M in honor of breast cancer month.
“They are all great,” Chausse said. “They all look really cool.”
Outback Steakhouse is located at 1642 N.E. Pine Island Road, just east of the Del Prado Boulevard intersection.