Seniors in Sun City Center take the Fourth of July seriously, and they celebrate it in a big way.
Tomorrow morning about 1,200 residents are expected to start the day at Community Hall, where more than 100 volunteers will serve them red, white and blue pancakes, sausage, eggs, toast, coffee and juice from 7 a.m. to noon. The cost is $5 per person.
"We have one of the highest concentrations of retired military in the country right here in this community," said Dana Dittmar, executive director for the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce. "I don't know anyone who takes the cost of freedom as seriously as those who have served to protect it. This day and celebration are especially meaningful to them."
Later in the day, there will be a picnic event on ClubLink's former golf course on North Pebble Beach Boulevard. The Sandpiper Grille will be outside the clubhouse after 4:30 p.m. serving barbecue. Menu selections will include hot dogs and brats for $3 apiece; a hot dog or brat with coleslaw, baked beans and potato chips for $5; or a two-piece chicken dinner with the same sides for $7. Water and soft drinks will be offered for $1, and Pop Craft will sell creamy homemade popsicles.
The event will feature live and taped music by Tito and Debi, a popular crowd pleaser who appeared last year.
And for the third consecutive year, fireworks will light the sky over the community at dusk - roughly between 8:30 and 9 p.m. - thanks to more than $20,000 in contributions from Minto Communities and Brandon Honda. The Garden State Fireworks display will run about 30 minutes, said Al Alderman, chairman of the yearlong July 4 committee. The effort began three years ago as part of Sun City Center' 50th anniversary celebration and was so well received that the Community Association board decided to keep it going.
"It's something the community enjoys, and we're proud to help provide the fireworks and be part of the day," said Mike Belmont, president of Minto Communities of Florida. "Minto has a significant investment in Sun City Center, and we want to be an active in the community."
His counterpart at Brandon Honda shared similar sentiments.
"Brandon Honda appreciates the support of our Sun City Center neighbors and is glad to be in a position to support its annual fireworks event," said John Marazzi, owner and general manager. "Sun City Center residents have worked hard all their lives, and it is a pleasure to contribute to them enjoying their leisure."
The pancake breakfast pays for itself, said Sam Sudman, who with his wife, Joanne, co-chairs the holiday breakfast committee, which also plans the annual Holiday Walk in December. Any leftover funds are donated back to the community association to help cover expenses for permits, portable toilets, wash stations, and support by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Fire Department. Additional resident donations are appreciated, said Ed Barnes, association president.
Both events are open to the public, including the communities surrounding Sun City Center, Sudman said.
"We do this as a goodwill gesture to the community," he said.
For additional information, call the association office at (813) 633-3500.