A morning downpour likely discouraged some from turning out for the Lutz Centennial Cars & Chili event on Saturday. But those who did come seemed to enjoy themselves.
The gathering — which was one of several special events this year to celebrate the community’s 100th birthday — featured classic cars, a chili cook-off, live entertainment, and free servings of cake and ice cream.
Those wishing to sample the chili paid $5 for a commemorative red plastic mug that they could carry from station to station.
Eleven teams entered the competition, and their concoctions ran from sweet and mildly spicy, to chili with a kick.
Scouts sold soft drinks and water for $1 each, and entertainers sang and danced for the crowd. People milled about, sampling chili, shooting the breeze and checking out the assortment of cars, which included a 1933 Buick, a 1931 Ford Model A, Lotuses, a Carrera and GTOs.
Cheryl Ayres and her friend Rose Fowler, were among the cook-off competitors. Ayres, who lives in the community, said she’s been cooking chili since she could see over the top of the stove. She used to make it for her eight brothers and sisters because she could stretch out her ground beef, and the chili would fill them up.
Ayres said the celebration was fun, and in keeping with Lutz’s traditions of bringing the community together.
Those gatherings go back to the Lutz’s earliest days, according to books about the community’s history.
It’s fun to get together to mingle, Ayres said. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”
She enjoys feeling part of the community’s fabric.
“We’re here every Fourth of July,” Ayres said.
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