By Jeff Odom
Hundreds of area residents gathered at the old Lutz Train Depot and Civic Center March 23 for the first of four celebrations to commemorate the town’s upcoming 100th birthday.
The event, dubbed Centennial Concert in the Park, featured 18 different food trucks and vendors as well as performances from the Steinbrenner High Entourage and Gaither High Showcase chorus groups. Artifacts and memorabilia were displayed for attendees inside the civic center from groups, including the now-defunct Lutz Volunteer Fire Association and 63-year-old Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club.
The centennial celebrates the approval of a request a century ago for a U.S. Post Office in the town formerly known as North Tampa. To alleviate confusion with the city of Tampa’s post office, the federal government named it after the Lutz train depot.
Janet Hardy, who serves on the Lutz Centennial Committee, helped organize the three-hour event.
“It was all the Lutz Centennial Committee, and we’ve been meeting since last fall to work on planning and putting together this event,” Hardy said. “Our whole objective is to put on an event to help celebrate Lutz and its hundredth anniversary.”
Other upcoming celebrations include the annual Lutz Independence Day celebration and parade, the Taste of Lutz in the fall and a rebirth of the once-annual Christmas Card Lane, which will take place in December.
Hardy was thrilled to see so many people come out and show their support.
“People are getting around here and in the (civic center) to see the real history of Lutz, and they’re talking to people that have been here (forever),” Hardy said. “It’s also really good to see so many families taking advantage of this and saying, ‘Hey, this is where you’re growing up and this is where I lived back when I was a kid.’”
Hardy added that events like these help the younger generation of Lutz residents understand the area’s history and to remember those who played a role in building it into what it is today.
“We have second generation people here and even third generation people, too,” Hardy said. “It’s crucial for (younger) kids to see this, especially in this day and age where everything is so immediate with the gratification and some don’t care about the history. … This way it keeps the history of Lutz alive for generations to come.”
For more information on upcoming events, go to Facebook.com and search Lutz Centennial 100th Anniversary Celebration.