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LARGO - Even the butterflies are glowing, as Florida Botanical Gardens lights up for the 2014 holiday season.

Holiday Lights in the Gardens opens Friday, Nov. 28, and runs through Dec. 31, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo.

Last year, more than 76,000 visitors from across the globe strolled through garden paths illuminated by more than 750,000 environmentally friendly LED lights. Oohs and aahs are common sounds as groups discover light displays tucked into garden beds, under bridges and on the water in the 30-acre venue.

Light displays include alligators, dolphins, eagles, turtles, a parrot, herons, a pelican, owls, flamingos and a swan, along with animated butterflies, hummingbirds and an animated train display with more than 1,250 LED lights.

A large collection of decorated flora including holiday trees, flowers, roses, poinsettias and palms and tropical foliage wrapped and draped in glowing light complete the scene.

The laser light displays are a crowd favorite, according to Terry Berube, president of the Florida Botanical Garden Foundation. And this year, there are two new laser light shows to enjoy.
 ... Read More 
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Holiday Gift Guide 2014
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Rain is pouring down over much of Tampa Bay Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for a portion of west central Florida, including Pinellas County, in effect through Wednesday morning.

Widespread rainfall of 2 to 4 inches is possible with localized amounts of 5 to 6 inches.

NWS also issued a flood advisory that includes Pinellas. That advisory is in effect through 6:45 p.m. Doppler radar indicates that rainfall rates of 2 inches an hour is occurring in the area.
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Our mouths were watering with the entries for the 2014 Holiday Reader Recipe Contest. Yet again, Tampa Bay Newspapers readers prove to be talented and creative holiday chefs.

Winning first place and the $50 prize is Kayla Jacobson of Pinellas Park. Her recipe, Pumpkin Dinner Rolls, intrigued us. This flavored twist on a holiday staple may be a bit tedious for those who have never made rolls from scratch, but we challenge you to try it!
 ... Read More 
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During the long holiday weekend, the Florida Highway Patrol, along with reserve and auxiliary troopers, will be on the roadways to assist with the increased traffic and to help ensure safe travel, Nov. 26-30.

“The Florida Highway Patrol wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “The Patrol is committed to making Florida’s roadways safer by putting more troopers on the road during this busy travel period. Drive safely, drive sober, protect yourself and your loved ones by buckling up every time you get in a vehicle.”
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Roadways most likely will be crowded this weekend as locals and visitors take time off for the holiday.

According to AAA Auto Club’s Thanksgiving travel forecast, released Nov. 20, more than 46 million Americans are planning trips of 50 miles or more over the long weekend - the most since 2007.

About 4.2 percent (1.9 million) more will travel this year than last. AAA says it is the greatest growth rate for any holiday since Independence Day 2012. AAA considers the holiday travel period as Wednesday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 30.
 ... Read More 
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Signs are pointing to a green holiday season for retailers relying on the generosity of this year’s gift-givers to improve their bottom lines.

The National Retail Federation recently released results of the annual Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, showing that the average person will spend $804.42 on gifts in 2014, nearly 5 percent more than last year’s actual spending of $767.27 a person.
 ... Read More 
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According to a recent report from United Way, 12 percent of Pinellas County households (50,486) live in poverty. Another 34 percent (136,874) don’t make enough to pay for basic needs.

The holidays are difficult for people who are barely getting by. Fortunately, the United Way report says that community support is “good” in Pinellas. Helping others is a tradition in, especially during the holidays.
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There’s a feeling of excitement in the air - a bit of holiday magic some might say, as Pinellas County gears up for the season. Enjoy light displays, parades, tree lightings and more. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Oakdale Christmas Light Display

ST. PETERSBURG - The 2014 Oakdale Christmas Light Display runs nightly, Nov. 28 through Jan. 3, 6 to 10 p.m., at 2719 Oakdale St. S. Now in its 38th year, this light show is among the largest and longest running home displays in the United States.
 ... Read More 
Largo Leader News
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LARGO - After a tally of votes, four businesses can claim the title of “Best of Largo” in the inaugural contest: Once Upon a Child Largo, Island Breeze Soups, PureLife Medi-Spa and Mahajan Medical Center.

The Largo Leader hosted the contest, partnering with the city of Largo in its month-long promotion of Largo-based businesses during Small Business Month and ahead of Small Business Saturday this week. The four winners will be featured in a December issue of the Largo Leader and will receive free space at the Largo Central Park’s Sunset Market.
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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