Last updated on May 28th, 2021 at 12:16 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.
The 2021 festival will be the 30th annual festival and it will be July 23 to 25, 2021. 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 — local grower Happiness Farms donated 100,000 caladium bulbs to decorate the city.
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.
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; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information go to the website www.caladiumfestival.org
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:
- Scenic drive along the Cracker Trail
- Sugar Sand Distillery is a 10-acre sugar-cane farm in Lake Placid that opened a distillery last year making their own rum, vodka, whiskey and moonshine. Tours with tastings are $7.50 per person and available on Saturdays.
- Henscratch Farms Vineyard and Winery makes wine from muscadine and scuppernong grapes grown here. This funky country winery with free range chickens offers tastings and wine for sale at its country store.
- 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.
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