Move Over, Veggie Tales: Olive Garden Wants Pasta Tales

Students in first through 12th grade across the United States and Canada now have until Sunday, Feb. 5, to enter Olive Garden's 16th annual Pasta Tales essay writing contest.

Olive Garden extended the deadline for this year's contest, which asks students to describe in a 50- to 250-word essay, "If you were given $5,000 to support education in your local community, how would you use it and why?"

Not only will the grand prize winner receive a $2,500 savings bond, a three-day trip to New York City, and dinner at the Olive Garden in Times Square, but Olive Garden will also bring the winner's essay to life by providing a $5,000 grant to support education in his/her local community. 

In addition, the winners in each grade category will be awarded a $500 savings bond and a family dinner at their local Olive Garden restaurant.

With its focus on education, this year's Pasta Tales essay question aligns with Darden Restaurants' Recipe for Success initiative. 

Darden is the parent company of Olive Garden, and Recipe for Success is designed to enable and empower youth to pave their own path to success by helping them prepare for and navigate the process of postsecondary education. 

Similarly, the goal of the Pasta Tales contest is to help youth achieve success and realize their dreams through a thought-provoking and educational exercise.

Pasta Tales entry forms and complete rules are available on Olive Garden's website at and at local Olive Garden restaurants. 

Entries must include the writer's name, complete address, phone number with area code, grade, date of birth including year, and a statement that the essay is his or her own original work. Entries must be submitted either online or postmarked by Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012 and sent to Pasta Tales, PMB 2000, 6278 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33308-1916.

Submissions will be judged based on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation, and spelling by the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa, with finalists selected by Olive Garden.

Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. Olive Garden's Pasta Tales essay contest provides students in their local communities an outlet to creatively express the influences, experiences, and stories that have shaped their lives. For more information on Recipe for Success please visit

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.