Lake Placid is an interesting small town proud of its chief product, brilliantly colored caladiums
Florida has plenty of small-town festivals built around local products – blueberries, strawberries, every type of seafood, even swamp cabbage.
But Lake Placid has a product you might not know about – caladiums – and the charming Central Florida town is celebrating the colorful landscaping plant with its 27th annual Caladium Festival July 28 to 30, 2017.
The Caladium Festival will offer arts and crafts, wine tasting, a beer garden, food booths, entertainment, an antique and classic car show plus a swamp buggy and airboat show. There is a schedule of entertainment that includes cloggers, country bands, classic rock, blue grass and local favorites.
But the caladiums are the star of the festival. You can buy them and even take a bus tour of the caladium farms in the area. The town will be full of them — local grower Happiness Farms donated 100,000 caladium bulbs to decorate the city.
Here’s more information about the Lake Placid Caladium Festival and the place to sign up for the bus tour.
If you’re a gardener in South Florida, you know caladiums as those summer plants with vividly colored leaves in shades of red, white and pink. The big leaves come in various shapes and add color to gardens when it’s too hot to grow much much else. There are more than 40 varieties of caladiums, which are in the jack-in-the pulpit family.
Lake Placid calls itself the Caladium Capital of the World because it grows 98 percent of the world’s supply of caladiums. There are 14 farming families with 1,200 acres of the plants and they’ve been growing caladiums in Lake Placid since the 1940s.
Folks in Lake Placid compare the vast fields of bright colors in summer to Holland’s tulip fields in spring.
Lake Placid has fewer than 2,000 residents. It’s located on US 27 an hour east of Sarasota and two hours south of Orlando in a scenic region with hills, lakes and rural vistas.
If you visit Lake Placid for the Caladium Festival, be sure to tour the community’s 40 murals, another point of great local pride.
Other things to do in the Lake Placid area:
- Henscratch Farm and Vineyard (The local vineyard will have a tent at the festival and has a grape-stomping event Aug. 13, 2016.)
- Scenic drive along the Cracker Trail
- Highland Hammocks State Park is a beauty. The park and rural roads around it are popular with bicyclists.
- Paynes Creek Historic State Park
- Accommodations near Lake Placid
There’s a moderately priced historic hotel in nearby Avon Park, the Jacaranda Hotel, which has a fascinating history and comfortable lodging.