LUTZ — Attendees of the Lutz 4th of July celebration will take a step back in time with a parade, games, races, music and the election of the Guv'na of Lutz.
"It's a little old-fashioned country 4th of July like they used to have," said Cheryl Benton of the Lutz-Land O' Lakes Woman's Club and event chairwoman.
She said traditionally between 80 and 90 units participate in the parade, which this year has the theme "Beautiful Downtown Lutz." Participants are from Scout troops, schools, churches, other organizations and businesses.
Vendors also have registered for the festival at the Lutz Train Depot on U.S. 41 and Lutz-Lake Fern Road. They will offer food — including hot dogs and hamburgers — as well as crafts and information about local nonprofits and businesses.
The event also includes a cake contest and auction.
"We've had cakes sell up to $100 with some grandparents coming to buy back a cake their grandchild made," Benton said.
Funds raised by the club are returned to the community through grants and scholarships, Benton said.
The morning begins with a 5K race at 8 a.m., which has drawn between 450 and 650 runners in past years, said race director Terry Donovan.
"We have some high school kids and college kids who turn in some pretty good times," Donovan said.
The one-mile family walk/run follows at 8:45 a.m. and usually attracts about 100 participants, Donovan said. Some walkers will decorate strollers or dress in costumes for that activity.
The fee for the 5K is $25 and the fee for the one-mile is $10 through Monday. Each increases by $5 on the morning of the race. To register, visit active.com.
As part of the celebration, the Guv'na of Lutz election makes no attempt at fair and honest politics. It's all about the money and community spirit in the annual event of more than 25 years.
The candidate who raises the most money from donations and fundraisers gets to be the ceremonial leader of Lutz for a year.
This year's race has three candidates, including incumbent Greg Gilbert, managing owner of Beef O' Brady's at Sunset Plaza in Lutz. Two newcomers to the Lutz political scene — Kori Rankin from Kori Rankin Photography, and Jessica Sherman of Pinch A Penny in Lutz — also are after the title.
Suzin Carr, a former Guv'na and member of the Lutz Civic Association, which sponsors the Guv'na race, said money raised is distributed to about 20 different organizations in the Lutz area.
"It affects so many local nonprofits: the Scouts, the Old Lutz School House, the Lutz cemetery, the Lutz library," Carr said. "This really is a small town event that helps so many people."
She said more than $100,000 has been distributed in the past decade.
For information, visit facebook.com/LutzEvents/?fref=ts.
Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]