Caladium Festival planned July 28-30

LAKE PLACID — The 27th Annual Caladium Festival, set for July 28, 29 and 30 in Stuart Park, on Interlake Boulevard in Lake Placid, will feature music, arts and crafts and a car show as well as the famous tours of the colorful caladium fields.

“Caladiums are easy, vibrant color for your yard, said Danielle Daum of Happiness Farms.

Caladium

“They are a summer plant that go dormant in the winter. In Florida, you can leave them in the ground and they will come back again the next year. They grow in the sun or the shade.”

The plants come in variations of reds, whites and pinks.

There are two different types of caladiums, she explained. Fancy leaf caladiums have large heart-shaped leaves and are taller plants. The lance leaf varieties are shorter and have elongated frilly leaves. The lance leaf varieties make a nice short border, she said.

At the festival, bulbs will be sold for $5 per bag for two dozen bulbs.

Each bag will plant about six running feet of plant border, she said.

“If you buy bulbs at the festival, plant them right away and in about two weeks, there will be plants,” she said. “They will be pretty until we get a cold snap.”

Bates Sons & Daughters will sell caladiums in 6-inch pots, hanging baskets and 13-inch pots at the festival. Prices range from $3 to $15.

Plants on sale will include 20 varieties of potted caladiums, including some that are exclusive to Bates.

“My grandfather came back from World War II in 1944 and in 1945 he bought a mixed bucket of caladium bulbs for $50,” said Terri Bates of Bates Sons & Daughters. Some of the bulbs were rotten, but some grew. Over the years the family separated the bulbs, cut them and replanted them. Today the family business has 125 acres in caladiums and sells 46 different varieties, including a dozen that are sold exclusively by the Bates farm.

The caladium is the crown jewel of the jack-in-the pulpit family (Araceae). With all of its colors and leaf shapes, it is the bird of paradise in the drab crow family of arums. In South Florida, caladium cultivars can provide color and brighten dark, shady corners for nine months or maybe longer. The plants live three years or more if given sufficient organic matter, fertilizer, water and warm temperatures. There are no significant caladium pests in the landscape.

Caladiums were first grown in the Lake Placid area in the early 1940’s. The industry began to expand in the 1950’s and today consists of over 1,200 acres. This acreage is owned and managed by 14 families, some of which have been producing caladiums for over 40 years.

Several of the families have the third generation in the business. Caladiums are increasingly popular as landscape plants as their use is becoming more widely known. Much of the popularity is due to the bright color of the leaves, the versatility of the plant, and its simple growing requirements. The plant has no pests and does not require any insecticide treatment or fertilization. The leaves are its feature and they are odor free. Potted plants as well as cut leaves make beautiful arrangements and are long lasting with proper care.

In Lake Placid, caladiums are grown in large fields which have been compared to the tulip fields in Holland for their beauty.

During the festival weekend, bus tours of the caladium fields will be available. The 90-minute tour starts with a short video about the caladium industry. Participants then load up on air-conditioned buses to visit caladium fields and neighborhoods where caladiums are used in landscaping. A caladium grower accompanies each tour group to answer questions. Tour tickets can be purchased in advance from the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce or at the festival, space available. The tours leave from the Lake Placid Women’s Club.

Advance reservations are strongly suggested for the bus tours. The bus tour reservation form is posted on the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce web site at www.visitlakeplacidflorida.com or reservations can be made by calling the Chamber at 863-465-4331.

Festival food vendors will include barbecue, alligator tail, fried catfish, strawberry shortcake and more.

On Saturday, July 29, the festival will feature a free car and bike show in Devane Park.

Follow the “car show” signs from U.S. 27. Car show classes will include Antique 1901-1948; Antique 1949-1959; Antique 1960-1984; Stock cars 1955-1957; Stock Mustangs 1964-1977; Stock Mustangs 1978-present; Corvettes, 1997-present; Stock Muscle Cars to 1972; Street Rods Open 1901-1948; Street Rods, closed 1901-1948; Modified trunks; Street Machines 1949-present; Foreign; Motorcycles; Special Interest; Trucks & SUVs; Orphan Cars; All Cars 1984-present; Mayor’s Award; and Police Chief’s Award. Early registration (up to noon on July 27) is $15; day of show registration is $20. Dash plaques and goody bags will be given to the first 150 vehicles registered. For car show applications, go online to www.VisitLakePlacidFlorida.com.

For more information, contact the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce 863-465-4331.

The Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Powered by Facebook Comments