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New Hyde Park man wins yard makeover

Tony and Mary Anne Minerva, of New Hyde

Tony and Mary Anne Minerva, of New Hyde Park, won the CMT BBQ Week Sweepstakes in 2011, for which they received a $4,000 backyard makeover.

Tony Minerva returned home from his Florida vacation Sunday and promptly cut his 25-year-old redwood patio furniture into blocks of firewood.

No, he’s not tired of entertaining. The 61-year-old New Hyde Park resident and his wife, Mary Anne, won a sweepstakes co-sponsored by Country Music Television and Ace Hardware July 7, giving them a backyard makeover.

“We’re tickled to death,” said Tony Minerva, who’s happy for the upgrade because they host several parties each summer and find themselves cooking for more than 30 people.

Minerva made a couple of purchases from Ace in June and jumped on the hardware store’s website to apply for rebates. At the end of the application process he was hit with an ad to sign up for the CMT BBQ Week Sweepstakes. He was chosen randomly from more than 150,000 online submissions to receive $4,000 worth of Ace merchandise to spruce up his backyard grilling style. Minerva was set up with a new grill, barbecue accessories, a patio set, a fire pit, a turkey fryer and shrubbery.

CMT representatives and landscape designers from Ace Hardware in Commack arrived at Minerva’s house Monday and worked to flip it in two days -- not even the hiccup of Tuesday’s earthquake slowed them down.

Minerva christened the yard Tuesday night, using the redwood as fuel for his fire pit’s inaugural burn. He intends to invite several family members to a large barbecue next week, including his 101-year-old father, Andrew, whose taste for outdoor cooking hasn’t aged at all.

“He was more of an old-style griller, and he taught me,” Minerva said of his dad’s slow-grilling style. “He still loves to eat, so it will be fun.”

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