LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid’s Caladium Festival is back.

The weekend of food, music and crafts – greatly missed during the Year of COVID-19 – will once again mark the colorful plant’s place in Lake Placid’s culture and economy.

Known for their big, heart-shaped leaves that display amazing color combinations of white, pink, red and green, caladiums thrive in Highlands County, which has the hot, humid weather they like. Growers say the plants usually grow best in full to partial shade.

Growers, represented by four local caladium farms, have planted beds of the bulbs in special areas around town, timing their sprout and growth for July 23–25, the weekend of the festival. According to Jennifer M. Bush, the Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director, bulbs have been planted in Devane and Stuart parks, next to both “Welcome to Lake Placid “ signs on U.S. 27, and in beds along Main Avenue in the downtown business district. 

The names of the local caladium farms are well known to Lake Placid area residents: Bates Sons & Daughters, Happiness Farms, Inc., and Florida Boys Caladiums, as well as Classic Caladiums in Avon Park. Family members from each farm will sell bags of caladium bulbs to tourists and locals.

Bush said the chamber has been posting videos on its Lake Placid Caladium Festival website, as well as marketing the event-filled weekend on Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

“We’re happy we’re back,” Bush said of the festival. “Lake Placid is the number one grower and exporter of caladium, and we have this great annual festival to honor the local families who have been growing them for generations.”

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