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A weekend full of seafood, flapjacks

The Flapjack Festival isn't just about stacks of pancakes dripping with syrup.

It is about community spirit.

"It brings together the whole community in one way," said Marjorie Walsh, executive director of the Land O'Lakes Chamber of Commerce. For two decades, the chamber has hosted the annual fall festival. "People should come and see how central Pasco County and Land O'Lakes work together."

The festival starts today with opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. and the ceremonial flapjack toss at the Land O'Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O'Lakes Blvd.

The weekend-long event includes a larger carnival midway now that the festival no longer shares space with the Florida Bug Jam. The annual Volkswagen show moved to Dade City.

At the Flapjack Festival, visitors can still see a car show, but one with antique automobiles.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Flapjack Parade winds its way up School Road to the community center. Gene Coppola, the manager of the Land O'Lakes library who missed the festival last year to have a heart transplant operation, is this year's grand marshal.

Performers will entertain throughout the festival.

A chili cook-off will be 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Later, judges will pick Mr. Chamber Legs and Grandma Legs. Then the chamber will announce the new honorary mayor of Land O'Lakes. Bill Gatrell of the California Alegre Wolfskill Foundation is the favored candidate, but he has competition from Ray Lopez of a Personal Touch Lawn Care and Rosie LaChance of Medway Services.

Florida Blood Services is parking its Bloodmobile at the event, looking for donors to show their community spirit.

Then there are flapjacks, flapjacks and more flapjacks. The Flapjack Cafe serves pancake breakfasts Saturday and Sunday.

Parking is $2, with half the proceeds benefiting the Central Pasco United Soccer Association. Admission is free. Carnival ride coupons cost 50 cents each.