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Taste of Citrus feeds college fund

Hungry guests will nibble on some of the most sumptuous foods offered by Citrus County's restaurants at the 8th Annual Taste of Citrus banquet Sunday at Crystal River Mall.

Taste of Citrus is a fund-raiser for the Central Florida Community College Foundation. A companion event, Taste of Marion, serves a similar function for Marion County students at CFCC.

Using proceeds from the Taste of Citrus, the CFCC Foundation has set up an endowment that provided about $15,000 in scholarships to Citrus County students last year, said Dr. Cash Pealer, executive director of the CFCC Foundation.

"The net proceeds combine with state matching grants," Pealer said. "The money becomes permanently endowed and we just spend the interest, which amounts to about $15,000 a year. It all goes to Citrus residents to attend either, or in some cases both, of the CFCC campuses."

Taste of Citrus converts the mall's food court into a huge buffet, offering samples of the finest dishes from area restaurants. Last year, more than 800 guests traveled from table to table, nibbling on chicken flambe, smoked salmon, roast beef, barbecue ribs, seafood and rich desserts. The restaurants compete for the best-of-show awards in several categories.

The restaurants participating this year include Buffalo Ray's, Caribbean Catering, Denny's, Fat Fred's Famous Bar-B-Q, Florida Crab Company, Gabby's Restaurant, Half Shell, Jan Marie's, Gourmet Coffee, K.C. Crump's, Main Exchange, Mr. Wang's Chinese Restaurant, Party Platter, Peking Garden, Pizza Hut, Plantation Inn, Poseidon, St. Anne's Catering, Scotto's Pizza, Seven Rivers Hospital, Sterling's, Two Guys from Italy, Wench's Brew and Yankee Skipper.

Taste of Citrus will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Dress is semiformal to formal. Cost is $25. Tickets are available at the Crystal River Mall office, any chamber of commerce in Citrus County or at the door. For information, call CFCC at 746-6721.