Central Florida Spelling Bee bigger than ever

The Central Florida Spelling Bee will return to Haines City for its third edition this year, bigger than ever.Haines City City Manager addresses the diverse crowd at the Central Florida Spelling Bee

Now encompassing 23 of the 67 counties that makeup Florida, the Central Florida Spelling Bee is not only the largest spelling bee in the state, it is in the top-three largest in the country. The bee will be held at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City on Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.

The counties included in the bee are: Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, De Soto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia.

More than 300 students advanced from their school bee to take the Scripps Online Bee. Consisting of both spelling and vocabulary, this year is the first year Scripps has offered a virtual option.

The top 60 scores from the Online Bee will now advance to the in-person Central Florida Spelling Bee. The winner of that bee not only earns bragging rights but also entry into the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, shown on ESPN over a span of days.