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Fairchild Garden orchid festival to draw thousands

Fairchild orchid festival visitors will be treated to orchid sales, orchid growing demonstrations and exotic foods.


Special to The Miami Herald

Thousands of brilliant orchids will be the stars of the show this weekend at the ninth annual International Orchid Festival in Coral Gables.

For almost 30 years, Motes Orchids in the Redland has specialized in growing the exotic plant. The grower is a regular exhibitor at the festival, held at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.

“It is a good area economically and nice people go,” said Mary Motes, vice president of Motes Orchids. “It is a pleasant experience. Fairchild is nice because it is out in the open.”

Motes will be one of 40 vendors who will sell their orchids at the festival, which starts at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

For Motes, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a special place.

“Fairchild has prestige,” said Mary Motes, who runs the company with her husband, Martin Motes.

Over 10,000 orchids will be displayed and on sale. In 2003, Fairchild started the festival to highlight the plants and raise awareness for rainforest conservation.

“Orchids symbolize the beauty and bounty of the tropical world; their diversity mirrors the diversity of the tropics,” Nannette Zapata, Fairchild’s chief operating officer, wrote in an e-mail. “They’re epiphytic, which means that they live sustainably with other plants; and, their pollination story is incredibly compelling, which speaks to the importance of habitat conservation and preservation.”

The festival attracts vendors from the state and around the globe, from Hawaii to Taiwan.

“It’s a boost for our local vendors from Miami-Dade and Broward County,” said Zapata. “We typically have about 8,000 visitors to this festival.”

Visitors can peruse the garden’s plant collections and exhibit with admission. There also will be demonstrations and lectures, along with guided orchid walking tours and a juried orchid show by the American Society of Orchids.

Motes said the ambience brings out the best of her plants. She will be selling Vandas.

“Our orchids look better in natural light,” she said.

For information on the festival visit www.fairchildgarden.org.

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