By Jeff Odom
With her hand on Dr. Seuss’ famous Green Eggs and Ham, Karin D’Amico was sworn in as the Guv’na of Lutz during the 65th annual Lutz Independence Day celebration July 4 at Bullard Park.
D’Amico, a Nebraska native, squeaked past runner-up Connie Dorton for the crown.
D’Amico said she raised more than $5,000 with some fundraising help from the Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club.
“It was a lot of work,” D’Amico said. “The Woman’s Club really worked their behinds off to make this possible. They came behind me with barbecues and bunko and all kinds of fun stuff. … I’m amazed at how this went.”
All money collected by the four candidates will go back into the community. In total, $9,529 was raised.
D’Amico said while competition was stiff from her opponents, she was always working to get ahead with weekly fundraisers in support of her candidacy.
“Every weekend in June, I had at least two things to go to, and some of them I wasn’t even here for,” D’Amico said. “They were so great and they just did it without me.”
As part of the tradition, D’Amico promised to protect the town by agreeing to principles from outgoing Guv’na Kevin Wright. She was presented with a key to the town along with a hat from the children’s book The Cat in the Hat.
Elsewhere at the event, festivities included a 5K race (see page 13 for results), cake bake contest and a parade featuring floats from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s and fire departments, youth sports teams, local candidates for political office and organizations from around the community.
One of the crowd favorites was the display of antique fire engines from around the country, including one truck used locally at the first Lutz Fire Station.
The Lutz Patriots took home the award for most patriotic float, and the best overall from the judges went to the First United Methodist Church. The event’s grand marshal favored the vehicles from World War II provided by the Gunn Highway Flea Market.
In the concluding cake bake contest, April Cales won over the judges in the adult category. As for the children’s category, Adam Lewis took first place in best tasting from the judges, while Carol Bartlett won the same honor given out by Guv’na Damico.
A total of $779 was raised at the auction for the 40 cakes and pies, which will go to fund local charities like the Boys and Girls Scouts and scholarships for area children.