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Local color: Lake Placid Caladium Festival, July 26-28, 2024, is about a vivid plant


Last updated on July 7th, 2024 at 01:28 pm

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 –  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 celebrates the colorful landscaping plant the annual Lake Placid Caladium Festival.

Lake Placid Caladium Festival caladiums bonnie gross Local color: Lake Placid Caladium Festival, July 26-28, 2024, is about a vivid plant
Lake Placid Caladium Festival celebrates the plant, which originated in Central and South America. They come in a great variety of colors and patterns. Lake Placid grows 90 percent of the caladiums sold in the US. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

The 2024 festival will be the 33rd annual festival and it will be July 26-28. It’s free.

The Lake Placid Caladium Festival will offer arts and crafts, a beer garden, food booths, entertainment and an antique and classic car and bike 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 the town will be full of them — a local grower donates thousands of caladium bulbs to decorate the city.

Attendees can enjoy caladium bus tours with knowledgeable growers on board, providing insights into the cultivation and care of caladiums. In addition to the tours, caladium bulbs will be available for purchase.

There’s a relatively new attraction back this year: A 1920s steam locomotive, The Sugar Express, will offer one-hour rides on a vintage train during both days of the festival. One-hour train trips will
depart Lake Placid on Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. each day, offering a journey through the landscapes of Central Florida. Tickets for the train rides are $30. The festival itself is free.

Here’s more information about the Lake Placid Caladium Festival.

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.

Going to Lake Placid? Read: Lake Placid charms with clowns & caladiums, good eatin’ & great yarns from Florida Rambler to learn more.

Lake Placid calls itself the Caladium Capital of the World because it grows 90 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.

Plan your visit to Lake Placid Caladium Festival

Admission and parking is free.

Festival hours are 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For more information go to the website

 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:

There’s a moderately priced historic hotel in nearby Avon Park, the Jacaranda Hotel, which has a fascinating history and comfortable lodging.

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  • Alice cannon says:

    Are you still having the festival this weekend

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