Welcome to the first Central Florida Spelling Bee

If you can’t use logophile in a sentence – let alone spell it – chances are you aren’t a contestant in the first Central Florida Spelling Bee.

On Feb. 8, the best spellers from more than 50 schools in 15 counties converge on the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City. Contestants, all winners of their own school’s spelling bee, will battle it out for the opportunity to represent Central Florida at the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The national bee runs from Sunday, May 26 to Friday, May 31.

The counties include Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte – as well as Highlands, DeSoto, Hardee, Citrus, Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie.

The contest, hosted by WFTS-Tampa Bay ABC Action News personality Sean Daly, starts at 2 p.m. Each contestant will be given a word to spell until there is only a single logophile – or lover of words – is left on the stage. WFTS-Tampa Bay was solicited by PCTSM due to their being an E.W. Scripps Company, the same company that operates the national spelling bee.

“While some may find the marriage between a sports commission and a spelling bee awkward, we feel that this expands our portfolio,” said Matt Prewitt, a sales and events representative for PCTSM and the organizer of the spelling bee. “This gives us the ability to reach out to other counties and not only shine a light on Polk County as a destination for drive markets, but to give those students in counties not typically represented at Scripps related spelling bees the chance to take their game to Washington, D.C.”