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    Spicy surprises in store at Pepper Extravaganza

    Cooking demonstrations, growing programs and hot sauce contests fill the bill at the Beckett Lake Nursery's annual tribute to the pepper.

    By CHRIS COSDON
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 21, 2002


    CLEARWATER -- Amateur hot sauce and salsa contests are among the activities planned at the fifth annual Pepper Extravaganza from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Beckett Lake Nursery, 2251 Montclair Road, Clearwater. Visitors can walk the nursery's shaded grounds, which feature fountains and a waterfall koi pond, while participating in the festival.

    More than 40 varieties of pepper plants, from very mild to very hot, will be available and more than 20 hot sauce, salsa and related vendors from the Tampa Bay area and throughout the state will be on hand.

    The cooking and growing programs and contests for both days are listed below.

    Noon to 2 p.m. Cooking demonstrations by vendors known for creative cooking.

    1 p.m. Growing seminar with Maryon Marsh of the Misting Shed. She will talk about the care and nurturing of pepper plants and herbs.

    3 p.m. Amateur hot sauce and salsa contests. Bring homemade, noncommercial salsa and/or hot sauces. Two entries per household per day and a maximum of 20 entries each day. All entries must be received by 1:30 p.m. the day of the contest. Bring enough to share with customers for People's Choice voting. Judges for the contest will be the commercial vendors attending the festival.

    For information, call the nursery at 796-7950.

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