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

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 — local grower Happiness Farms donated 100,000 caladium bulbs to decorate the city.

There’s a new attraction this year: A 1920s steam locomotive, The Sugar Express, will offer one-hour rides on a vintage train during both days of the festival. (Even with an additional run added, the Caladium Flyer, as it has been dubbed, is sold out.)

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

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

Are you still having the festival this weekend

Bob Rountree

Wednesday 21st of July 2021

Alice, The Caladium Festival is still on, according to their website and their Facebook page.

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