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Fiorelli Winery celebration to benefit Suncoast Charities


The Red, White and Blueberry Celebration at Fiorelli Winery is about bringing people together to celebrate community and the country's independence.
The Red, White and Blueberry Celebration at Fiorelli Winery is about bringing people together to celebrate community and the country's independence.
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To Kristin Hokanson, the Fourth of July means coming together with family and friends to celebrate the country and its accomplishments. 

So that's what makes the third annual Red, White and Blueberry Celebration on June 29 extra special for Hokanson, who owns Fiorelli Winery with her husband, John Hokanson. 

“We’re excited to bring people into our family by hosting this event with great music and a great charitable organization," Hokanson said. 

For the first time, Hokanson said the Red, White and Blueberry Celebration will feature a band rather than a solo act. The country band One Night Rodeo will take the stage.

The event also includes food trucks, such as Southern Smoked by JP, as well as a variety of craft vendors. 

Hokanson said the celebration will be family friendly with kids activities as well as the winery's playground.

“We’ll just be bringing our community together and celebrating the community,” she said. “That is what community is all about, bringing people together.”

The night will end with a bang, literally, Hokanson said, with fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

Hokanson said 10% of all sales will go to Suncoast Charities for Children, which she said is dear to her heart. 

Fiorelli Winerhy's AnnMarie Capoano and Stephanie Farquhar are ready to serve up a variety of wines and drinks during the Red, White and Blueberry Celebration.
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Suncoast Charities for Children supports other nonprofits that serve children, teens and adults with special needs. Those nonprofits include Children First, Special Olympics Florida, The Florida Center for Early Childhood, Loveland Center, The Haven, Venice Challenger Baseball League and Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children.

Hokanson said Suncoast Charities for Children is important to her because her 46-year-old brother Shawn White goes to The Haven and receives services. Hokanson said White lost oxygen at birth causing developmental delays. 

“I’m sure everybody can think of a friend or family member that has some form of special needs,” Hokanson said. “Being able to support an organization that really focuses on giving back to organizations that help those with special needs is just very meaningful.”

Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of Suncoast Charities for Children, said the nonprofit is grateful for Fiorelli Winery’s support. 

Nicandri said the population growth in Sarasota and Manatee counties is resulting in an increase in need of services for individuals with special needs. She said the rising cost of health insurance also is causing parents to stop sending their children to therapy and other services. 

“A lot of times the need that’s out there gets overlooked,” Nicandri said. “We are so appreciative of anything that comes our way financially because it goes toward the bottom line and helps reduce the wait list too. There’s a lot of parents that are on wait lists to get the services they need.”

Nicandri said the Red, White and Blueberry Celebration will give her the opportunity to educate people about Suncoast Charities for Children as well as share the impact the event will have on the more than 8,000 people the nonprofit serves. 

 

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Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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