Two orchid festivals bloom in South Florida in January

Two orchid festivals come to South Florida in January.

Orchid lovers are in for double delight as two of the country's largest flower festivals bloom in South Florida this month.

The Tamiami International Orchid Festival kicks off the botanical bonanza from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 13-15 in the Expo Center at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds in Miami. Expected to feature about 70 vendors, the show and sale is considered America's largest winter orchid event.

The juried festival will feature a plant sale, growing supplies, orchid exhibits, orchid-themed jewelry and gifts along with classes, lectures and raffles.

The festival was founded in 2002 by noted breeder Martin Motes. "He's the foremost authority and breeder of vanda orchids in the world and is a second-generation Miami-Dade grower," said Bartholomew Motes, the famed grower's son, business partner and a festival organizer.

Martin Motes, 72, is an author and research associate at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, which houses the American Orchid Society. At his Redland nursery, which is open to the public, he produces some of the rarest vanda hybrids in the world. He also helped found the Redland International Orchid Festival, held the weekend after Mother's Day.

"The Tamiami festival features more varieties of orchids than most people have seen in their lives, with growers from California, Hawaii, China, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Jamaica and Peru," said the younger Motes.

The party will continue Jan. 20-22 at the 59th annual Galaxy of Orchids Show and Sale, taking place at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society, the juried show will feature 28 vendors filling the auditorium's 20,000-square-foot space with exotic specimens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Hardcore fans can get first crack at plants during a preview party on Jan. 19, which will also include bubbly and a buffet with live entertainment.

"We are excited and proud to host the second largest orchid show in the continental United States here in Fort Lauderdale," organizer Michael Schaberl said. "There will be over 10,000 blooming orchids on display and for sale."

The 15th annual Tamiami International Orchid Festival will be from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 13-15 at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds Expo Center, 10900 Coral Way, Miami. Tickets are $10 in advance online, $12 at the door, or $20 for a weekend pass. Info: OrchidFestival.com.

The 59th annual Galaxy of Orchids Show and Sale will be from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Jan. 20-22 at the War Memorial Auditorium, 800 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $10 in advance online or $12 at the door; preview party tickets are $70. Info: FLOS.org.

dchristensen@sunsentinel.com

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