LUTZ — A 60-plus unit parade, a 5K race, a 1-mile family fun run, games, activities, a cake contest and the election of the next Guv'na of Lutz are part of the annual Lutz Independence Day Celebration.
Monday's celebration brings together thousands of community members — many wearing red, white and blue — in an old-fashioned celebration with food, games and music.
"It's going to be a good one," said Shirley Simmons, a member of Lutz-Land O'Lakes Woman's Club and committee member for the event. "And all the money raised goes back into the community."
The event, at the Lutz Train Depot on U.S. 41 and Lutz-Lake Fern Road, begins with the cake contest registration and ends with cakes auctioned off. Traditionally, there are layer and sheet cakes that resemble American flags, offer colorful designs or have cartoon characters among entries.
"We've got some ladies who love to decorate cakes and they do it wonderfully," Simmons said.
The 5K race starts at 8 a.m. with about 600 runners expected for this year's 31st running. Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. for $30.
"The 5K race is growing every year," said Terry Donovan who helps coordinate the event. "It's a lot of high school kids and college guys who are really good.
"But the older participants do good, too, as we go the way up to 80-plus for trophies"
The 1-mile family fun run follows and usually attracts about 100 participants, Donovan said.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. and will feature Scout troops, church groups, Lutz Elementary and Martinez Middle schools, belly dancers, political candidates and others.
"We've got Mrs. Florida Galaxy for the first time and (local resident) Earl Smith will be back with Lutz's first fire truck," Simmons said.
In the spirit of fun, the Guv'na of Lutz election relies on donations from voters to choose the next ceremonial leader with two candidates, Greg Gilbert and Andre Pamplona, vying for the title. The winner is whoever raises more funds, which are used with other proceeds to offer grants to community groups.
Gilbert is the managing owner of Beef 'O' Brady's at Sunset Plaza in Lutz. He and his wife, Jill, have four children, and one grandchild. He wants to be Guv'na to change the world one elected position at a time.
Pamplona is the manager of for Royal Lanes Bowling Center in Lutz. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters and he is happy to help raise money for many Lutz community organizations.
Both are accepting donations at their businesses.
For information, visit tbtim.es/139f.
Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]