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Orchids, orchids, orchids! One of the nation's biggest orchid shows is underway in Santa Barbara

Lance Orozco
The 75th annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show is underway at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

It's the 75th annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. It's back after a three-year break due to the pandemic.

There’s a lot of excitement at Santa Barbara’s Earl Warren Showgrounds.
One of the nation’s largest, and most respected orchid shows is taking place this weekend, after being cancelled for three years in a row by the pandemic.

"My heart just keeps beating fast, every time I'm in that room...I don't want to leave that exhibit hall," said Lauris Rose, who is is President of the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show.

She’s standing in the main exhibit hall complex at the showgrounds. There are dozens of exhibitors from around the state, and in another room dozens of vendors selling orchids from around the world.

"I've been coming to this show since I was a little girl. To cancel it (due to the pandemic) broke my heart, and to see friends back installing exhibits stirs my soul," said Rose.

But, it’s a miracle that it’s happening. In 2020, what was supposed to be the 75th annual show was set to open, with thousands of plants already on hand, when the pandemic forced the show’s cancellation. It devastated the non-profit group. It's still struggling to raise money to fill the gap.

But, the show is back, and people are excited.

Lance Orozco
The orchild show feature more than three dozen exhibitors, and more than two dozen vendors.

As you walk into the main exhibition hall, it’s overwhelming. There are thousands of plants, and an explosion of colors, and scents.

Wilson Wong is one of the orchid show vendors. He traveled from Taiwan to take part in this weekend’s event in Santa Barbara.

"I have many orchid friends here. I would like to show my good production for them," said Wong.

Fred Clarke is a commercial orchid grower from San Diego County, and an orchid show judge.

"There's a lot of things that make a good orchid, and a lot of personal tastes that go into it," said Clark. He said most people are attracted to orchids for their color, and smell.

Clarke said the pandemic disrupted in-person events like the orchid show, but it also encouraged some people to give growing orchids a shot. He said mail order sales went through the roof.

If your thumb is less than green, you can come look. If you are more ambitious, the vendors have plants from our backyard, as well as from around the world available for purchase.

The 75th annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show takes place at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. It runs 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily through Sunday.

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.