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Chili cook-off adds spice to Lutz centennial celebration

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Published:   |   Updated: September 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

LUTZ — A chili cook-off with live entertainment, a classic car show and free birthday cake has been added to the mix of the yearlong celebration of the Lutz centennial.

This latest in a series of centennial events, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, offers cash prizes and trophies for the concoctions deemed best by a panel of judges led by Steve Otto, a longtime Tampa Tribune columnist whom centennial committee members deem an “expert chili judge.”

Tampa radio icon Jack Harris will emcee the day’s events and entertainment, which will include Fritzy Bros. One Man Circus and local musical group Lonesome Hobos.

The centennial celebrates the 1913 approval of a request for a U.S. post office in the community then known merely as North Tampa. Fearing that name would be confused with Tampa’s post office, the federal government insisted it be named for the Lutz train depot. The Lutz depot name dates to 1907.

The Lutz Centennial Committee has sponsored the year’s events that began with a spring concert, followed by an Independence Day celebration.

This latest event emerged during brainstorming by some of the two dozen committee members.

“We were always going to do something in November,” said committee member Janet Hardy. “This is what we came up with when we were throwing around ideas. It sorta started as a chili cook-off, blossomed into the car show and expanded from there,” said Hardy, who has lived in Lutz for 42 years.

One more thing: “We’re going to do free birthday cake,” with slices of the centennial snack distributed at the end of the day’s activities, she said.

All events will be on the grounds between the Lutz Community Center and the train depot at U.S. 41 and Lutz Lake Fern Road.

Chili sampling begins at noon. Purchasing a $5 Lutz Centennial souvenir mug entitles a person to sample the entry of each cooking team, comprised of a chef and two assistants, Hardy said.

Oct. 25 is the entry deadline; registration is $25. For rules and a registration form, send an e-mail to lutzchilicookoff@gmail.com.

The car show also offers cash and trophies to winners. To enter a classic car 25 years old or older, send an e-mail to lutzcarshow@gmail.com for rules and a registration form. The competition also is open to motorcycles and exotic cars. Winners will be determined by a vote of the public, announced at the conclusion of the day’s activities.

Information also is available on the Facebook page, Lutz Centennial Cars & Chili.

gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124

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