Nearly 3 dozen women compete for Miss Florida title in Lakeland

One young woman’s hopes and dreams of being crowned Miss Florida are going to culminate at the R.P. Funding Center in Lakeland this weekend.

On Saturday, Tampa’s Leah Roddenberry will hand over her title to the new Miss Florida 2022.

"It is bittersweet," she told FOX 13. "While I am ready to hand this over to the next young woman, it is a little sad because it has changed my life and provided me with incomparable opportunities."

Roddenberry says the year has been a whirlwind of speaking engagements and appearances from one end of the state to the other.

"It has kept me very, very busy," she explained. "I have lived out of my suitcase and my car the entire year, but it has been incredible."

On Friday, the day before finals, Miss Lakeland 1961 showed up to chat and offer words of wisdom.

"The opportunity you girls have is totally incredible," shared Barbara Heddon. "So just take it and go with it, and enjoy every minute of it."

READ Miss Florida competition is no longer a beauty pageant

Heddon, whose mom was Miss Lakeland in 1932, went on to become a world-renowned water skier.

Almost three dozen young women are pinning their hopes and dreams on garnering the Miss Florida title, including the current Miss Lakeland.

"I wouldn’t say I get nervous butterflies anymore," Lindsey Franxmen told FOX 13. "I do get that excitement, that adrenaline in my veins."

LINK: Click here for more information about the pageant and the finals.