This annual orchid event is more than just showy collections of jewel-toned blossoms with hints of delicate perfume.
“Oh no, we have so much more than that,” JoAnn Vaz, secretary of the Gulf Coast Orchid Society, said. “That’s the great thing about the Gulf Coast. It’s full of growers. People on the Gulf Coast grow anything and everything and they expect a great show.”
The 42nd annual Gulf Coast Orchid Society Show & Sale will be Friday, January 28 through Sunday, January 30 at the Gautier Convention Center at 2012 Library Lane, Gautier, Miss.
The show promises spectacular exhibits presented by commercial dealers and orchid societies from both Mississippi and across the country. Plant sales are from10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Orchid exhibits can be viewed from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The kaleidoscope of dazzling blooms is free and you’ll even have a chance to pick your favorite and learn more about it from on-site orchid specialists.
Vaz explained that anyone with a question or concern about almost any plant, especially orchids, can get their inquiries answered by simply asking event organizers to point them to the right person.
“All of our members are very knowledgeable,” she said.
Many orchids feature fragrances to attract pollinators, so visitors can also expect the tantalizing aromas of chocolate, citrus, and other sweet or spicy scents.
And if you’re feeling lucky, Vaz said there’s a good chance you’ll go home the winner of a one-of-a-kind orchid during the plant raffle.
Raffle tickets are $1 each and participants simply drop tickets in a raffle bin near the orchid of their choice. Vaz said there will be 15 stunning orchids in the raffle and there’s no limit as to how many tickets you can put in each raffle bin.
“If someone wants to win a certain orchid they will have a real good chance,” Vaz said.
Event-goers are also invited to participate in the People’s Choice award.
“You’ll get a ballot when you walk in and you can vote for your favorite exhibit,” Vaz said.
Participants are only allowed to vote once in the People’s Choice competition.
“I believe a group from New Orleans won last year,” Vaz said. “We’ll have societies from all over participating and some beautiful plants to vote on.”
This year’s orchid venders include Florida Star Nurseries of Marianna, Florida; Spring Orchids of Spring, Texas; Marble Branch Farms of Walhalla, South Carolina; Sheila’s Orchids & Exotics of Marrero, Louisiana; and Hicks Orchids and Supplies of Orlando, Florida.
The Gulf Coast Orchid Society was founded in 1980 by a group of Orchid lovers who grew tired of traveling to Hattiesburg on a monthly basis to learn about orchids. The first show was held in 1981 at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. The group has about 60 members on record with a monthly attendance of around 30 members. All members can take part in a December covered dish luncheon and orchid bingo.
Visit the Gulf Coast Orchid Society’s Facebook page for additional information about the event and how to join the group.