Kanapaha Fall Festival celebrates 25 years of the botanical gardens

Children play in a labyrinth during the 2011 Fall Festival at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. The 2012 festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. (BRAD MCCLENNY/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/FILE)

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.

Those looking for inspiration to landscape around their homes can check out the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens free of charge this weekend.


Kanapaha Fall Festival

What: Fall plant sale and the Gainesville Orchid Society's annual juried show
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive
Cost: Free
Info: 372-4981, www.kanapaha.org

The 25th annual Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Fall Festival will feature a plant sale, orchid show and educational seminars on Saturday and Sunday.

This is the only event with free admission to the gardens. The festival is Kanapaha's open house, celebrating the day the gardens were opened to the public in 1987, says Alexis Caffrey, director of the gardens.

“It's a way of celebrating our ‘birthday,'” she says.

The plant sale features outdoor, indoor and greenhouse plants, such as flowers, herbs, bromeliads and fruit trees. In addition to the juried orchid show, the event includes professional displays of orchids inside the Summer House, educational seminars on growing orchids in the main exhibit room and free raffles of orchid plants and supplies.

Candy Hollinger, committee chairwoman of the Gainesville Orchid Society, says that the event's attendance has grown each year. About 4,000 people attended last year's festival.

“It's the widest exposure we receive during the year where members can show off their orchids, add to their collections and learn from the experts about how to grow them,” Hollinger says.

There are more than 25,000 species of orchids in the world, according to Georgia Shemitz, president of the Gainesville Orchid Society. “A lot of people see them for the first time at the festival,” she says.

This is the Gainesville Orchid Society's fifth year at the Kanapaha Fall Festival. An exhibit of original and watercolor paintings by Mindy Lighthipe, a member of the Gainesville Orchid Society, is new to the festival this year. Returning is vendor Louis Del Favero Orchids of Tampa.

The orchid show includes displays of blooming orchids, vendors selling orchids and ribbon judging by American Orchid Society judges. Six professional nurseries and four orchid societies are setting up the orchid displays.

“The displays and the varieties of flowers are different each year,” Shemitz says. “To have them all together in one room blooming at the same time is quite spectacular.”

The orchid show also accepts orchids from the public to be judged for awards. “You never know who's going to bring something,” Shemitz says.

Hours for the Fall Festival are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive in Gainesville. For more information, see www.kanapaha.org or call 372-4981.

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