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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Selby Gardens Bring Families Together for Lights in Bloom®

About 1,000 children and youth, their families, and local educators enjoyed complimentary access to our Lights in Bloom® holiday light show during two recent Family Togetherness Nights sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Through the Family Togetherness program, which is funded by the Community Foundation, we welcomed students and families who otherwise might not have been able to attend the award-winning light show. This marked the sixth year that area families could enjoy exclusive access to Lights in Bloom thanks to underwriting by the Community Foundation.

“We are proud to partner with Selby Gardens and especially delighted to continue this tradition of inviting families and teachers from Sarasota County Schools to enjoy the magic of Lights in Bloom free of charge,” said Kirsten Russell, Vice President of Community Impact at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Witnessing the natural world, lit up in this imaginative and whimsical way, plants a seed of wonder for these children and their families. It’s an evening filled with cheer, hope, and togetherness that I’m optimistic will continue to grow long after the holidays.”

Selby Gardens hosted Lights in Bloom Family Togetherness Nights on December 9—the day before the show opened to the general public—and January 2. In addition to the immersive light displays and holiday decorations on view throughout our 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus, guests enjoyed complimentary food and drinks as well as child-friendly activities like face painting and balloon twisting. Families also could participate in a free holiday photo opportunity, and Santa was on hand the first night to sit for photos and hear children’s wishes.

Generous vendors that donated all food and refreshments for both nights included Michael’s on East, Brewed Monday Coffee, Five-O Donut Co., The Purple Belle Ice Cream Truck, and Uncle Dave’s Kettle Korn. Balloon Art Entertainment and Pixie Painting donated their services for both evenings as well.

“Family Togetherness Nights are among our favorite nights of the year,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President & CEO of Selby Gardens. “Many of our team members volunteer to staff these evenings, and it’s wonderful to share Lights in Bloom with so many happy families. Selby Gardens is deeply grateful to the Community Foundation for its generous investment in strengthening families and bridging generations through access to cultural attractions and special events like Lights in Bloom.”

Through the Family Togetherness program, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County also sponsors access to the annual Enchanted Garden Family Festival at our Historic Spanish Point campus and Fourth of July All-American Cookout at our Downtown Sarasota campus.

Click here to view photos from the event on December 9. Photos from our second Family Togetherness Night on January 2 can be viewed here.