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The Free 2012 Caladium Festival Returns This Weekend!

Have you heard of the caladium? It's more commonly called Angel Wings, the Heart of Jesus, or elephant ear. If you've ever traveled southern Florida, or as far away as Central or South America, then you've probably walked or driven by one during your visit. This popular flower is the talk of the town in Lake Placid, which is dubbed the "Caladium Capital of the World." Ever since the 1940s, growing these exotic flowers has been the number one industry in Lake Placid. The area has been celebrating its most important industry since 1990, when competitors Happiness Farms and Bates Sons & Daughters joined forces to create a one bus, two run gathering of locals and industry folks. Now, over 41 buses, four or five runs, and over 100 craft vendors flock to the Lake Placid for the annual Caladium Festival to sell and share their caladium-themed goods to tourists and locals alike at Stuart Park. Here's a look at what you can expect to see at the Festival, as well as some other South Florida attractions that will catch your eye:

Caladiums, Cars, Crafts, & Color

Image of Potted Plant, Adult, Female, Person, Woman, Leaf, Male, Man,

As you may have guessed, this festival is all about the caladium, and for good reason. It's reported that 98% of caladium bulbs come from Lake Placid. From August 24-26, these bulbs will be for sale at Stuart Park along with full grown plants and caladium-themed crafts. Visitors will also be able to take bus tours of Lake Placid's caladium fields, reminiscent of the tulip fields in Holland. These buses are pretty popular - in part for their beautiful views, but also for their air conditioning - so get there early to make sure you don't miss out. The Caladium Festival is offering up some extras this year on top of all the flower-themed fun: visitors will be able to sample some local wine, attend antiques and car shows, and enjoy the Caladium Festival Art Competition. Besides being the Caladium Capital of the World, Lake Placid is also often called the Town of Murals - over 40 murals are painted on buildings across town, depicting scenes such as a cattle drive and local basketball teams. The Caladium Festival Art Competition is held in the same style as these murals, so it's not to be overlooked.

Miami & Orlando Attractions Just Around the Corner

Plan ahead this weekend and schedule your time at the Caladium Festival with some scenic tours of Orlando - just a quick drive up the highway from Lake Placid. You can start with the Cocoa Beach Day Tour, home to the world's largest Ron Jon Surf Shop and some of the world's most beautiful beaches. The tour also includes lunch, so it's great for families who don't want to worry about finding food in between the sights. If you'd rather check out Florida's more southern coastline, you can head over to Miami and catch a boat to Jungle Island, home to the world's rarest and most incredible animals. Just check this list out:

  • Mama Cass, the only tame Cassowary on the planet
  • The liger, who holds the Guinness Book of World Records title as the World’s Largest Cat
  • Peanut and Pumpkin, only the third set of Orangutan twins to be born in captivity.

If you're staying in South Beach, you'll even be treated to free shuttle service from area hotels. You can enjoy more attractions like this with the Go Miami Card, currently on sale for just a limited time. Pick one up before this weekend or you'll be missing out on the caladiums and cassowaries!

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