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Big Green EGGfest raises $30,000 for local nonprofits

Nearly 1,100 foodies and grilling fanatics attended the fifth annual Sunshine Ace Hardware Big Green EGGfest, a family-friendly celebration of BBQ that featured all-you-can-eat food samplings, grilling demonstrations, live music, beer, wine and hard seltzer drinks.

This year’s event, held April 13 at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs, crowned a new EGGhead Grill Master Pro in Sergio Alonso from Lee Health. Chef Asif Syed of 21 Spices had earned three consecutive wins in the Pro Division, but elected to end his reign and allow other competitors an opportunity to claim the title. There was a tie in the Amateur Division, as Matt and Anna Seguin from BBQ Nerds and PJ and Danny Bimonte, representing Leadership Collier, shared the EGGhead Grill Master Amateur title.

All EGGfest chefs were required to use a Big Green Egg to prepare meats, vegetables and side dishes for the culinary competition. Attendees served as judges. A Big Green Egg is a multi-functional, ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker that can be used as a grill, oven or smoker.

This year’s crowd – an event record – also led to a record fundraising total as EGGfest distributed $30,000 in proceeds to four beneficiaries: Northside Naples Kiwanis Club, United Way of Collier and the Keys, The Foundation of Bonita Beach Sunset Rotary and Greater Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation.

Since its inception, EGGfest has generated more than $130,000 to support local nonprofits.

“Certainly, EGGfest is a celebration of food and culinary ingenuity, but our overall goal is to raise money that helps these organizations carry out their missions,” said Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace Hardware. “There is an old saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but EGGfest proves the way to a community’s heart is also through the stomach. We all want to support a good cause, and if it means enjoying a little BBQ on a sunny afternoon, there’s no place I’d rather be.”

In addition to enjoying free samples, EGGfest attendees also had an opportunity to learn from a trio of talented chefs through demo cooking classes. Syed demonstrated how to cook tandoori chicken and grilled lamb on a Big Green Egg. YouTube personality and grilling instructor Ron Dimpflmaier showed how to cook crispy chicken wings, while grilling blogger Shannon Morgan made pizza on a Big Green Egg. EGGfest attendees also lined up at Fogo Charcoal’s booth for samples of flavor-packed DemKota Ranch Beef ribeye roasts, which were expertly smoked on a Big Green Egg by Fogo’s grill masters. World-champion BBQ chef Tina Gannon, winner of Netflix’s American Barbecue Showdown, also made a surprise appearance at Big Green EGGfest, sharing her culinary insights and experience cooking on a Big Green Egg.

Sunshine Ace Hardware was the title sponsor for Big Green EGGfest; BKS Partners, PBS Contractors, Florida Gulf Coast University and Lee Health were Head Chef sponsors; NCH Healthcare System was the Grill Master Elite sponsor; and KGT Remodeling, Sauna House Bonita Springs, Priority Marketing and Milwaukee Tool were Sous Chef sponsors.

The sixth annual Big Green EGGfest will be held Saturday, March 22, 2025, in Bonita Springs. Chef registration and ticket information will be posted at SunshineAceEGGfest.com as the event approaches.

2024 Big Green EGGfest Results

  • EGGhead Grill Master Pro: Sergio Alonso, Lee Health
  • EGGhead Grill Master Amateur (tie): Matt and Anna Seguin, BBQ Nerds; PJ and Danny Bimonte, Leadership Collier
  • People’s Choice Award (Pro Division): Bart Zino, PBS Contractors (1st Place); Zoam Weiss, Trompo King (2nd Place); Arturo Aguirre, NCH and Blue Zones (3rd Place)
  • People’s Choice Award (Amateur Division): Jacy Birtolo, United Way of Collier and the Keys (1st Place); DJ Heidtman (2nd Place); John Youngblood (3rd Place)

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