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From Flower Shows To Concerts, Coronavirus Leads To Cancellation Of Events On Central, South Coasts

It’s one of the most spectacular shows in the history of the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. 

Picture the centerpiece: a display nearly the size of a basketball court, with thousands of flowers, talking tikis, and animated birds which pays tribute to Disneyland’s iconic Tiki Room.

It’s a spectacular show, but it's one the public will never see.  The show was scheduled to start its three day run Friday, but now the Orchid Show is one of the many victims on the Central and South Coasts of the ban on public gatherings because of coronavirus.

Orchid Show President Wayne Ferrell says they understand the situation, but it’s still sad.

The news of the cancellation has left those involved with it stunned, especially coming on the eve of the show.  With people traveling from around the world, and spending all week setting up displays at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

The situation is especially difficult for vendors.  Some traveled from as far away as Japan and Taiwan, and they will have a difficult time getting permits to take the plants they are now unable to sell to the public home.  Many could end up in the hands of orchid growers in California, who could resell them.

It’s also a huge financial blow for the non-profit group, because they’ve ordered and paid for most things related to the show, but will never get the income from the thousands of visitors who come to see it annually.

With coronavirus forcing the cancellation of everything from concerts to art shows on the Central and South Coasts during the next few weeks, versions of this story is going to be repeating itself during in many different shapes and forms.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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