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9 Reasons Not to Miss 72nd Annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show

This provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet premier orchid growers from around the world.
9 Reasons Not to Miss 72nd Annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show

The prestigious Santa Barbara International Orchid Show occupies 22,000 square feet of elaborate floor displays along with a 13,000-square-foot international flower market.

This provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet premier orchid growers from around the world.

These growers are invited to exhibit and participate in the longest running show in the nation, which provides a unique experience each and every year!

Here are nine reasons why you should attend this year’s show:

1. The Grand Exhibits.

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Some of the most vibrant, rare and exotic orchids collected from around the world are show-stoppers in The Grand Orchid Exhibits. Award-winning growers and societies both domestic and international let their prized plants shine and truly demonstrate the show’s theme, “Orchid Mystique.”

2. International Orchid Show Market.

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Event attendees have the opportunity to find blooms that otherwise might not be available. Many of the finest growers both from the US and from Tokyo, Ecuador, Brazil, Thailand, Colombia and Hawaii make their rare, unusual plants available for purchase in the Sales Area near the Exhibit Hall. From orchids for the beginning windowsill grower to rare species and hybrids for the serious hobbyist, the variety of orchids and supplies is astounding.

3. Interactive exhibits by the Santa Barbara Zoo.

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New to this year’s show will be a number of STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, art and math) that will be hosted by the Santa Barbara Zoo.  These include both an indoor and outdoor booth that will provide hands on fun and activities for children and adults of all ages.

4. Art Show.

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Talented artists will play on the theme of orchids at an exhibit that will be paired with the three-day event. Members of the Santa Barbara Art Association will let the allure of orchids serve a muse for their pieces that will add another dimension to the celebration of nature’s beauty and mysteries.  Both paintings and photographs will be on display and available to purchase.

5. Demonstrations and Educational exhibits.

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Not just for the eyes and nose, but also for the brain. Potting demonstrations are scheduled throughout all 3 days, many of which are hosted by Master Gardeners. These give attendees the opportunity to see how the experts do it and to ask any questions they might have. Educational exhibits can be found throughout the Exhibit Hall. Past exhibits have shown how Vanilla extract is grown and produced. Another told the story of famed explorer Sir Joseph Hooker’s pursuit in the Himalayan foothills for the blue Vanda, Another displayed images taken using an Scanning Electron Microscope.

6. Floral Arrangements & Corsages

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Using orchids as their medium, local artisans will create stunning, themed floral arrangements and corsages from orchid blooms. The artisans tap their creativity to wow judges and vie for awards based on the principles of the Western School of Flower Arrangers.

7. Visit the Orchid Doctor.

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Have an orchid that has fallen out of optimal health? Orchid Doctor Bruce Kidd is available in the Exhibit Hall throughout the weekend to answer orchid questions. Kidd is past president of the San Diego County Cymbidium Society and can diagnose orchid issues and prescribe a plan of action to turn around the health of the sometimes temperamental plants.

8. Visit the Local Nurseries.

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Commercial orchid cultivation is an important part of the local horticultural scene. In conjunction with the SB International Orchid Show, many local nurseries offer tours and open houses, at which festival attendees can purchase thriving orchids directly out of the greenhouses where they’re grown and from the growers who take pride in their products. You can visit The California Orchid Trail website for more information HERE.

9. Attend the Cymbidium Conference.

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Attend the 42nd Annual Cymbidium Society of America Congress on Saturday, March 18th. Hear lectures by cymbidium and slipper experts, reconnect with friends (and make new ones), and enjoy the continental breakfast and luncheon, all right next to the Showgrounds.  The Saturday evening gala includes reception banquet, auction, dinner, speakers and awards ceremony.

The Santa Barbara International Orchid Show is open Friday, March 17, through Sunday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara.

General admission is $14: seniors, students with ID and advance group sales (minimum 25) are $12; children 12 and under are FREE with an adult.

Tickets are available for purchase in advance at www.SBOrchidShow.com.