The Fourth of July is just weeks away, and Lutz is gearing up for its annual festivities.
This is a place that enjoys its Independence Day traditions, and it likes the community to join in on the fun.
So, if you’re thinking about being in the Fourth of July Parade, it’s a good idea to let Cheryl Benton know. She’s the one that makes sure you get your form filled out, so she can reserve you a spot in the parade lineup.
And, if you’re looking to earn some bragging rights for your baking skills, it’s a good time to get in touch with Karin D’Amico to find out about the rules and categories in the Cake Bake competition.
If you’re planning to run in the 5K or take part in the 1-mile fun run or family walk, Terry Donovan is the guy who is in charge of those activities.
The main thing is, if you want to take part, it’s not too early to begin gearing up for the annual event.
One of the highlights each year is the auction that takes place after the parades, where cakes and pies that have been entered into the Cake Bake competition go home with the highest bidder.
And, finding out who will win the annual Lutz Guv’na race is always fun, too.
This annual competition, which raises money for local organizations, is a good-natured competition where the only qualification that the winner must possess is the ability to raise money. Whoever raises the most money wins.
This year, Greg Gilbert and Andre Pamplona are squaring off to see who will claim the title and be sworn in over a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”
The 5k and fun run get things rolling, generally drawing in the neighborhood of about 600 participants, said Donovan, the race director.
Runners begin arriving around 6 a.m., to register or pick up their packets.
The 5k is a chip-timed event.
The race, which originates at the Lutz Community Center, has been going on for decades.
And, many of the runners have been racing since they were young, Donovan said.
“I don’t really run anymore, I shuffle,” he joked.
The cake and pie competition also tends to get a lot of repeat entries.
Last year’s cake and pie contest drew 28 entries, including a 5-pound apple pie, a cake shaped like a fish and another with the look of the community’s iconic train depot.
Wilma Lewis had eight entries in the competition.
And, Shirley Simmons entered her famous, made-from-scratch pound cake, which fetched $75 in the auction after the parade.
Those interested in entering the competition should touch base with D’Amico to find out the various categories.
The parade — which has an old-fashioned feel — tends to attract scouts, schools, politicians, community organizations, law enforcement and local businesses.
It also draws a wide assortment of vehicles, ranging from antique fire trucks to flatbed trucks, military vehicles to classic cars, and bicycles to convertibles.
The parade route, which goes down Lutz-Lake Fern Road, turns to go in front of the Lutz Branch Library.
“We have 11 different trophies,” Benton said. “We have one for antique vehicles. One for bicycle entry. One for commercial. One for a family entry. Most comical. Most patriotic. Neighborhood entry. Walking unit. Youth entry. Judge’s favorite. Grand Marshal’s Choice.”
She thinks people enjoy the Fourth of July festivities because it’s a fun way to start off the holiday.
“It’s crafted after an old-timey Fourth in the park,” Benton said.
“It’s a community thing. It’s something for the kids to do on the Fourth of July,” Benton said.
All sorts of entries are welcome, she said. But, she does have a request: “Please no high-powered water guns,” she said.
“Because they have soaked little babies before,” she explained, and that’s not cool, she added.
Benton is in charge of getting the parade entries lined up along the route.
That requires marking spots on the street, based on the size of the entry, she said.
“It’s a hot job, I can tell you that,” she said, noting the spot for each entry must be painted on the street.
Lutz Independence Day festivities
Cake entry drop off: Call Karin D’Amico at (813) 786-8461 for time and location
Festivities take place at 101 First Ave. N.E., in Lutz
6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.: Cake registration deadline. For information, call Karin D’Amico at (813) 786-8461
8 a.m.: 5K begins (registration and packet pickups begin at 6 a.m.) For information about the 5K, 1-mile fun run and family walk, call Terry Donovan at (813) 949-6659
8:45 a.m.: 1-mile fun run and family walk begins
9 a.m.: Flag raising ceremony
9:30 am: Race trophies presented
11 a.m.: New Guv’na sworn in; parade trophies awarded; Cake Bake Auction
Parade breakdown begins immediately after the festivities. Volunteers are welcome to help.
Published June 8, 2016