Redland Professional Orchid Growers, Inc. was formed in 1996. At the suggestion of Lynn Bretsnyder of Impact Orchids, who became the company's first president, a group of seven Redland area orchid growers came together to pursue common interests in the rapidly changing world of orchids. There were two main objectives. First, to promote the Redland area as a center of orchid growing, and second, to find a strategy to effectively market their unique high quality plants in the face of fierce competition from the mass produced orchids that were beginning to appear in the big box stores.
Among the early ideas was one from Martin Motes, that the group could meet both those objectives by staging a major orchid event in the area. After much discussion it was agreed that the group would host an event here in the Redland, and that the Fruit and Spice Park would be the venue. The date chosen was mid-May, at the end of the regular orchid season and late enough to avoid any conflict with the traditional orchid shows, but early enough to enable the many wonderful late spring and summer blooming orchids to be displayed at their peak. The main focus of the event would be its vendors and every effort would be made to provide variety by inviting growers from other areas and other countries. Finally, it was decided to call the event a Festival, not a show, to make it clear that this was intended to be an orchid event unlike any other in the area.
There followed a frantic five months of preparation and the big day finally arrived on May 17th 1997. Despite an early morning thunderstorm which put a temporary damper on things, over 2,000 people attended and a total of 31 vendors took part. Today the attendance has more than tripled and the number of participating vendors has grown to sixty five. Vendors have come from all parts of the United States and from twenty two foreign countries, some as close as Mexico and others as far away as Australia. Orchid fanciers from every state in the union, and even from points beyond, have responded and many now attend every year. As one out of state visitor put it,B If it's May, it's Redland Festival.
Over the years we have been assisted by a veritable army of volunteers who give of their time and effort to help with the many and varied tasks that are involved in staging the event. Without their help and support it would not be possible. They all share our love for orchids but there is something else they bring to the event which helps to create the friendly and informal atmosphere that always pervades the festival. In recognition of their contribution we make donations to the orchid societies of their choice. We also contribute to the American Orchid Society, the University of Florida, and the Florida Caribbean Judging Center.
The members of the Redland Orchid Festivals, Inc. welsome you to the 2017 Redland International Orchid Festival. The Festival has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the orchid calendar; and with good reason. Nowhere else in the country can you find as many vendors offering such a variety of orchids
at such reasonable prices. Add to this the friendly and informal atmosphere, the
beautiful tropical setting of the Fruit and Spice Park and the variety of food and
drink available, and you have the recipe for a truly memorable experience for
every orchid lover.
We pay tribute to those who have played an important part in getting us to where we are today. First our vendors, who have always supported us and who return year
after year. In 1997 31 vendors took part. Today, fifteen of them are still with us. They are: Carib Plants, EFG Orchids, Floralia Orquidiarios Reunidos, Gold Country Orchids, Hamlyn Orchids, Laurel Orchids, Motes Orchids, OFE International, Orquidiario Cerro Verde, Quest Orchids, RF Orchids, Soroa Orchids, Whimsy Orchids, and Woodland Orchids.
Next our volunteers. We started with a small group of about 20. Today there are
more than 60 who help us by doing the many jobs, some unseen or unnoticed,
that are vital to the smooth running of the event. We thank them all for their sup-
port. It is we think indicative of the depth of that support that of the many who
helped us last year all but one are with us again this year. In this context we would
like to pay special tribute to Carlos and Nelia San Martin. In 1997 they worked
at the front gate on Sunday morning. Twenty years later they will still be there.
From among the volunteer group there are a few who have become a de facto
management team, working with us throughout the year on all the planning, etc.
that must be done. A special word of thanks to Diane Dickhut, Richard Fulford,
Danny and Barbara Lutz, Eduardo Marcellini, Carlos and Carmen Segrera.
Last but by no means least we would like to thank the Management and Staff
of the Fruit and Spice Park for all the help and support they have given us over
the years. The Park was our first choice as a venue and it is still our first choice.
Indeed it may have become our only choice since it is almost impossible to envis-
age the Festival in any other setting. The Park has seen several changes over
the years but the support of the Festival has never wavered.