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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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

SARASOTA, Fla., January 6, 2021 – More than 1,000 local children, families, teachers, and school staff enjoyed complimentary access to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Lights in Bloom® holiday light show this season thanks to a partnership between Selby Gardens and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Through the Family Togetherness program, which is funded by the Community Foundation, Selby Gardens offered two complimentary evenings for children, families, and others who otherwise might not have been able to see the award-winning light show. This marked the fifth year that families experienced this exclusive opportunity to attend Lights in Bloom® through the Community Foundation’s sponsorship.

“Over the years, our partnership with Selby Gardens has grown to ensure all generations have access to the opportunities and possibilities blooming at our local botanical garden,” said Kirsten Russell, Vice President of Community Impact at the Community Foundation. “We’re honored to bring together children and families for cheer, joy, and connection during the holiday season and to plant the longer-term seeds for young people to be inspired by the natural world.”

This year’s Family Togetherness nights book-ended the nearly monthlong run of Lights in Bloom®. Families who attended on December 10 got to preview the show before it opened to the public, while those who attended January 3 enjoyed the season’s finale evening. In addition to the stunning light show set throughout Selby Gardens’ 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus, guests enjoyed complimentary food, holiday treats, and activities like face painting and balloon art. Generous vendors that donated all food for both nights included Michael’s on East, Boar’s Head Provision Co., Cheney Brothers, Uncle Phil’s Organic Popcorn, Kona Ice, and Five-O Donut Co., while Balloon Art Entertainment and Pixie Painting donated their services. Families also had a holiday photo opportunity both evenings, and Santa was on hand the first night to sit for photos and hear children’s wishes.

“It was so fitting that hundreds of children and families were among the very first community members to see this year’s incredible show as well as the final guests to help us celebrate its successful completion and welcome another year,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Selby Gardens. “We can’t thank the Community Foundation enough for its partnership with Selby Gardens and for its commitment to connecting more families with the cultural and natural resources in our region.”

The dedicated evenings at Lights in Bloom® sponsored by the Community Foundation are part of a larger, multiyear partnership that includes additional Family Togetherness programming and innovative new educational opportunities at Selby Gardens. Local families will have access to more special events at the Gardens in the spring and summer, and Selby Gardens staff is developing an educational lab series on environmental sustainability for Sarasota County students with Community Foundation support.

“The hallmarks of these Community Foundation-inspired programs are ‘education’ and ‘access,’” said Rominiecki. “Offering more children and their families opportunities to explore culture, nature, and art at Selby Gardens opens doors and makes our community stronger.”

Since 2017, thousands of children, families, and teachers have experienced Lights in Bloom® through the Family Togetherness program.


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About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward-thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. One of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, it celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information visit


About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $520 million in more than 1,570 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $27.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $350 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit or call (941) 955-3000.