Redland International Orchid Festival

24801 Southwest 187th Avenue
Homestead, FL 33030

HISTORY

Redland Professional Orchid Growers, Inc. was formed in 1996. At the suggestion of Lynn Bretsnyder of Impact Orchids, who became the company's first president, a group of seven Redland area orchid growers came together to pursue common interests in the rapidly changing world of orchids. There were two main objectives. First, to promote the Redland area as a center of orchid growing, and second, to find a strategy to effectively market their unique high quality plants in the face of fierce competition from the mass produced orchids that were beginning to appear in the big box stores.

Among the early ideas was one from Martin Motes, that the group could meet both those objectives by staging a major orchid event in the area. After much discussion it was agreed that the group would host an event here in the Redland, and that the Fruit and Spice Park would be the venue. The date chosen was mid-May, at the end of the regular orchid season and late enough to avoid any conflict with the traditional orchid shows, but early enough to enable the many wonderful late spring and summer blooming orchids to be displayed at their peak. The main focus of the event would be its vendors and every effort would be made to provide variety by inviting growers from other areas and other countries. Finally, it was decided to call the event a Festival, not a show, to make it clear that this was intended to be an orchid event unlike any other in the area.

There followed a frantic five months of preparation and the big day finally arrived on May 17th 1997. Despite an early morning thunderstorm which put a temporary damper on things, over 2,000 people attended and a total of 31 vendors took part. Today the attendance has more than tripled and the number of participating vendors has grown to sixty five. Vendors have come from all parts of the United States and from twenty two foreign countries, some as close as Mexico and others as far away as Australia. Orchid fanciers from every state in the union, and even from points beyond, have responded and many now attend every year. As one out of state visitor put it,B If it's May, it's Redland Festival.

Over the years we have been assisted by a veritable army of volunteers who give of their time and effort to help with the many and varied tasks that are involved in staging the event. Without their help and support it would not be possible. They all share our love for orchids but there is something else they bring to the event which helps to create the friendly and informal atmosphere that always pervades the festival. In recognition of their contribution we make donations to the orchid societies of their choice. We also contribute to the American Orchid Society, the University of Florida, and the Florida Caribbean Judging Center.

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