Celebration is going to be celebrating a big birthday soon. The Osceola County town built by the Walt Disney Company is turning 25 in 2019.
The Celebration Foundation — known to be the charitable arm of the community — is also celebrating.
“While the community was founded in 1994, the Celebration Foundation was established in March 1996 to promote and conduct community building activities for new residents moving into their homes,” said Celebration Foundation Executive Director Gloria Niec, who took the position in 2011. “The Celebration Foundation has been able to meet the changing needs of the community and establish significant partnerships with other organizations in Osceola County. Through its diverse programs, the Foundation impacts thousands of lives.”
Here’s a look at everything the Celebration Foundation does for the town of Celebration and greater Osceola County, as well as its upcoming events through 2018.
Architect Tours / New Urbanism
During Founder’s Day weekend (Nov. 9-11), the Celebration Foundation’s New Urbanism committee hosts architect-led tours held by architects who worked on the original design for Celebration. The weekend activities also include presentations by iconic names, such as Michael Eisner. This year’s presentation will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. The presentation will be by Brent Herrington — Celebration’s first town manager. Tickets are $10. Architect tours will be held the same day, at 10:30 a.m. The tour is $10; space is very limited. Tickets for both events may be purchased online.
The Celebration Foundation extended outside of Celebration with Campus Express, by providing bus tours of post-secondary education facilities to students across the county. The initiative is designed to show students opportunities at Technical Education Center Osceola (TECO) and Valencia College. During its inception year of 2012, the program reached 100 students. That number increased to 1,000 students the following school year, and is currently over 5,000.
Students throughout Osceola County can also be part of the Celebration Foundation’s WINGS program — Women’s Initiative Nurturing Girls’ Strength. The program that took flight in 2013 promotes a girl’s ability to reach her highest potential. With group activities, presentations and “power lunches,” the program helps girls learn to be fearless as they move toward their future and goals.
Celebration Lifelong Learning
Education doesn’t stop with students. Celebration Lifelong Learning program reaches adult seniors in the community, looking to further their congenial learning and improve their social environment. Two terms are typically offered, spring and fall, each with three sessions. Classes are offered in an accessible location in Celebration’s Town Hall facility. A full schedule of classes can be found online, as well as other conversations and presentations that are free and open to the general public.
Thriving in Place
Seniors in Celebration can be part of Thriving in Place — an initiative founded with a belief that people need to be involved in their community to be truly fulfilled, and to help aging residents continue to live in their own homes while living a safe and healthy life. Thriving in Place helps adult seniors stay in touch with their community through shared values and mutual dependence, for a membership costing $1 per day. Thriving in Place also offers conversations and presentations that are free and open to the general public.
With belief that a great town deserves great music, the Concert Series was born. As one of the Celebration Foundation’s most beneficial fundraisers of the year, the Concert Series offers a series of seasonal performances by both local and international names. The 2018-19 Concert Series kicks off on Dec. 7, with a holiday performance by the Brass Band of Central Florida. Other concerts include Bumper Jacksons, Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (FSYO), Vienna Boys Choir, Gary Lovini and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Tickets range $25-$40; series tickets are available. Tickets may be purchased online.
Holiday Home Tour
The Celebration’s annual Holiday Home Tour and Winter Wonderland is another one of the Celebration Foundation’s biggest fundraisers. The self-guided tour takes guests on a winding journey through some of Celebration’s most fabulously decorated homes, including condos, town homes, estate homes and more. The tour will be held Dec. 1-2, and costs $20 per guest. Guests can purchase a separate, $25 VIP Party ticket to experience the Winter Wonderland early, on Nov. 30. Tickets for both events may be purchased online.
For more information about the Celebration Foundation and all of its programs and initiatives, visit CelebrationFoundation.org.