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Holiday Lights in the Gardens 2012 Return to Largo Florida Friday November 23

Holiday Lights in the Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens holiday lights are back. With more than 500,000 twinkling lights on display from treetops, along walkways and on the bougainvillea, hibiscus and bromeliads.

The 12th annual Holiday Lights in the Garden has been a much-enjoyed tradition since 2002. This year, the holiday lights will have new lighting displays. Two new fountains will light up with lasers on boths sides of the McKay Creek bridge.

"As people enter and walk over the bridge, they'll see the fountains, with varying degrees of light and intensity. We're excited about it,'' said Chuck Scaffidi, president of the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation, the all-volunteer, nonprofit group that took over Holiday Lights from the Pinellas County government in 2008.

That's not all that's new, expect more lights on display as the Holiday Lights in the Garden has expanded into the Botanical Gardens Vinery. Created in the spring, the vinery is near the Palm Garden.

"It includes a dozen different types of vines, and people should check it out. It is still a bit immature as far as growth goes, but the trellises will be lit up. They have been decorated, and it's interesting to see," Scaffidi said.

"I think people should check out the dogwood shrubs. They are just gorgeous, large blooms. There's a white, pink and red. Also, in the same area where they are on the Tropical Walk, everybody should also see the Christmas ornament tree. That is what it is really called. It always blooms around Christmastime, and it's budded up now. In a few weeks it'll have a large flower that drapes from the stems. It's pink and really something," Scaffidi added.

The holiday event includes refreshments for sale, live entertainment, and Santa visits..

While Scaffidi has 300 volunteers through the foundation to help with Holiday Lights, volunteers are still needed to help at the display. They expect 60,000 people to visit this season.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 every night from Friday, November 23, 2012 through January 1, 2013. Although it is free, a donation of $2 per adult is requested.

The gardens are located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens 2012

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