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Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published on Raising Richmond a parenting blog  on RVAnews.com  

by Valerie Catrow, guest blogger,  via Raising Richmond

I tend to get a bit weepy when I think about Lewis Ginter this time of year–the garden, not the guy.

Now you might find it odd for a grown woman to tear up at the thought of a botanical garden, but I have a good reason: Lewis Ginter was the setting for The Catrow Family’s first joint-encounter with holiday mushiness.

It was just after our son JR turned one, and we were in the thick of our first “real” holiday season1 as a family of three. My husband and I spent an evening watching JR gleefully toddle up and down the paths of Lewis Ginter during the 2009 edition of Dominion GardenFest of Lights.

I distinctly remember one point in the evening as we shepherded JR through the light maze in the Children’s Garden. My husband stopped dead in his tracks, waved his arms spastically about him, and declared (in a extremely rare verbalization of emotion2), “Look at our little guy! Look at THIS! This…is…MAGICAL.”

As you can imagine, that sweet moment earned Dominion GardenFest a permanent spot on our family’s list of holiday traditions.

— ∮∮∮ —

Fast forward three years and here we are, fresh off celebrating our son’s fourth birthday (a milestone that, I believe, puts us in the sweet spot when it comes to Lewis Ginter appreciation) and champing at the bit to soak up all that Dominion GardenFest of Lights 2012 has to offer. And rightfully so because, guys, it is…fantastic.

20 foot Holiday Tree photo by SJ Collins Photography

20 foot Holiday Tree photo by SJ Collins Photography

In years past, GardenFest was, as Lewis Ginter’s Horticulture Director, Grace Chapman, put it, “All about the pretty lights.” However 2012’s theme of “East Meets West” allowed the Garden to shift towards a more all-hands-on-deck approach to this Richmond holiday favorite. The Garden’s operations staff worked closely with the horticulturalist and education department (as well as a crew of over 200 volunteers) to create a more comprehensive, educational, and interactive experience.

In addition to the over 500,000 (as in half of a MILLION) lights on display, Dominion GardenFest 2012 highlights botanicals…… To view the full story please visit Raising Richmond.

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