Region gears up to celebrate nation’s Independence Day

If you’re looking for some fun and patriotic ways to celebrate the nation’s birthday, you’ll find lots of options nearby.

The master-planned community of Connerton is hosting its fifth annual “Nation Celebration” on July 3 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at 21100 Fountain Garden Way in Land O’ Lakes.

Connerton, a master-planned community in Land O’ Lakes, offers a ‘Nation Celebration’ to celebrate America’s birthday. Benedetto’s, a restaurant in Land O’ Lakes, sponsors the fireworks.

The event will be an old-fashioned neighborhood party, open to the public, featuring a rock wall, free games, a live DJ, live music, food trucks, local crafters, free bounce houses and fireworks presented by Benedetto’s Ristorante Italiano.

Those wishing to be eligible for a chance to win a $250 gift card must register by June 30, at

If you enjoy a down-home Fourth of July parade, along with a flag-raising, a cake-baking competition and kids riding their bikes in the parade — the community of Lutz’s Independence Day festivities will be right up your alley.

Lutz prides itself on its annual event and this year promises to continue the community’s traditions, according to Jennifer Rankin, chairwoman of the festivities.

The day begins with people dropping off their entries for the Cake Bake competition.

Then, there’s the annual 5K which draws hundreds of runners, and the 1-mile Fun Run, a family friendly event.

The 5K starts at 8 a.m., July 4 at the Lutz Community Center, 101 First Ave. N., in Lutz.

In-person registration for the race can be done during regular business hours Monday through Friday, through June 30, at Big Fred’s Automotive Repair, 19301 U.S. 41 North, in Lutz.

On race day, registration is $30 and begins at 6:15 a.m., inside the Lutz Community Center, 101 First Ave., N.

The 5K starts at 8 a.m., July 4 on Lutz-Lake Fern Road, west of the intersection First Avenue.

The 1-mile Fun Run begins at 8:45 a.m.

For more information or to register online, visit

Three-month-old Braylen Moore had a great viewing place for the parade, sitting on her mom’s — Emily Moore of Lutz — lap at the parade.

Other festivities include a flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m., led by Boy Scout Troop 12 and members of the North Tampa/Lutz Civil Air Patrol Cadets.

After that, the parade begins at 10 a.m.

After the parade, the honorary Lutz Guv’na is proclaimed, and is sworn in over a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”

This year’s candidates are Kandy Sinquefield of American BellyDance Studio, Jessica Sherman of Pinch A Penny and Domenic DiFante of Panini’s Bar & Grill.

Then, come the “Cake Bake Auction,” which raises money to support local organizations and draws some good-natured bidding, as grandparents, parents and spouses get into friendly bidding wars to bring home their loved one’s baked treat.

Another highlight are the booths and vendors that parade-goers can check out, to find out more about local organizations, or grab a bite to eat.

And, while politicians are always a mainstay in the Lutz parade, there’s usually a greater number during an election year, and Rankin said that’s true this year.

She also noted that it’s not too late to join the parade, but the deadline for applications is July 1. Those interested in joining the parade can call Rankin at (813) 240-5492.

Other area events are planned in Wesley Chapel and at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City.

Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel will host an Independence Day celebration on July 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at its clubhouse, at 5227 Autumn Ridge Drive. There will be an apple pie bake-off, a bike parade, a wet/dry bounce park, community performances, and fireworks at 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (813) 783-1515.

Meanwhile, the community of Seven Oaks has planned a “Fourth of July Celebration and Cardboard Boat Regatta” on July 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Seven Oaks Clubhouse, 2910 Sports Core Circle, in Wesley Chapel

Families can build a two-person cardboard boat, which must be able to race. There will be awards for fastest, best team, most creative, people’s choice, best younger team and the Titanic-best sinking. For information, visit

Another Fourth of July celebration — Sparklebration 2018 — is planned at Pasco County Fairgrounds, 36722 State Road 52 in Dade City.

Festivities will be on July 4 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Highlights include live entertainment, free face painting, and for a nominal charge: a bounce house, pony rides and a petting zoo.

There also will be a watermelon- and hot dog-eating contests, and a karaoke contest.

Fireworks are scheduled for 9:15 p.m., weather permitting.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Admission is $6 for ages 13 and older. For information, visit

Published June 27, 2018

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