Caladium Festival 2021

LakePlacidChamber

Lake Placid, Florida and the surrounding Sebring area are rich with natural beauty, excellent growing conditions, and talented people. While caladiums are the heart of our popular Caladium Festival, the event also highlights our creative community as well as our local heritage and culture. We’re excited to celebrate our 30th anniversary with you in 2021, so please make plans to join us!

CALADIUM

schedule of evenTs

Page 3

Things To do

Details Page 3

Take a leisurely

Bus Tour

Details Page 4

caladium fesTival

car & Bike show

Details Page 6

See pageS 20-21 for the official Vendor Map

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A Special Publication of


2 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

The Greater

Lake Placid

Chamber of Commerce

“Building a Future that reflects our past”

PRESIDENT

Vicki Spires

MidFlorida Credit Union

1 ST VICE PRESIDENT

Donald Clarke

Clarke Pest Control

Clarke Self Storage

2 ND VICE PRESIDENT

Bill Brantley

Brantley Construction

SECRETARY

Kim Miller

Clarke Pest Control

TREASURER

Curtis Slade III

First Insurance

of Lake Placid

PAST PRESIDENT

Jessica Hart-Howard

Heartland

Property Doctors

DIRECTORS

Tiffany Bender

AdventHealth

Mary Birge

SouthState Bank

Jean Deuth

Lake & Land Realty

of Highlands Inc.

John Varady

The School Board of

Highlands County

Gilbert Randall

Beef O’Brady’s

The Barn at Paso Fino

Katie Wilson

Remax Realty Plus

Jennifer M Bush

Executive Director

July, 2021

Dear Residents and Visitors,

We are delighted to invite you to the Caladium Capital of the World – Lake Placid,

Florida – for our annual festival celebrating these lovely plants. First time visitors to

our area are always excited to discover an abundance of heritage and culture in such

a small community. Frequent visitors return to enjoy our friendly residents and our

amazing quality of life.

This will be the 30 th year of the Caladium Festival and this feature from the

Highlands New-Sun if filled with detailed information about the festival. There

are three days of free entertainment for your enjoyment. Also inside you’ll discover

more about Saturday’s Caladium Festival 24 th Annual Car & Bike Show.

Please plan to visit the offce of the Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce

located just one block from the festival – where you can view a free video about

the history of caladiums. The Mural Room is also located here; you may view the

original artwork for all the murals. Our offce is the clearing house for all events and

attractions in our area. You’ll quickly see why Lake Placid is so popular.

There will be many opportunities to purchase your own caladium bulbs and plants

at the festival. To see where the bulbs originate, meet the growers, and learn how

they will look at your home or place of business, you will want to consider an

air conditioned bus tour through our town and to the beautiful fields. Buses will

also take you to view a neighborhood filled with caladiums, as well as seeing the

plantings throughout our town. There will be a caladium grower on the bus to

answer all of your questions. We encourage you to make your bus reservations early

as they sell out quickly.

The 2021 Caladium Festival will be waiting for you! Visit for the entire weekend

and enjoy Lake Placid. Additional information and bus tour reservations can

be obtained at www.CaladiumFestival.org or call the Lake Placid Chamber of

Commerce at 863-465-4331

Sincerely,

Jennifer M. Bush

Executive Director

Visit Lake Placid … Enjoy the Experience

Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce

18 N. Oak Ave. Lake Placid, Florida 33852-9546

Phone 863-465-4331

Web Site: www.visitlakeplacidflorida.com • Email: information@lpfla.com


July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 3

Lake Placid was voted “America’s Most Interesting

Town” in an online contest sponsored by Reader’s

Digest magazine in December 2012. Known as the

Caladium Capital of the World, Lake Placid has 27

lakes, a multitude of beautiful murals that depict the

town’s history, Toby’s Clown School and the historical

Happiness Tower, which rises 270 feet above ground

(the tower is no longer open to the public).

The following are some of the things locals and

visitors alike can do in and around Lake Placid during

this year’s Caladium Festival:

Murals, walking tour

Forty-seven murals grace buildings throughout

Lake Placid. Trash containers are also decorated. Visit

the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce at 18 N. Oak

Ave. to see The Mural Gallery, which houses original

renderings. A short video details the murals’ history.

There is no charge. Call 863-414-2394.

Caladium tiles

This permanent installation of 25 tiles came about

to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the festival

and to honor the town of Lake Placid as the Caladium

Capital of the World. Each tile depicts different

varieties of caladiums representative of local growers.

The tiles are affixed to buildings in downtown Lake

Placid, with six additional tiles on display on the front

of the chamber building on Oak Avenue. This is a

free, self-guided tour. For more information, visit the

chamber office at 18 N. Oak Ave.

Arts and crafts booths

Close to 100 food vendors and arts and crafts

booths will be present. The booths will be set up

near Stuart Park, along Pine Avenue and Interlake

Boulevard. Several food vendors, along with a beer

garden and a wine tent, will be located in Stuart Park.

Plants for sale

Caladium plants will be for sale throughout the

festival. Bates Sons & Daughters will sell the caladium

plants. The booths will be located next to the entertainment

pavilion.

Wine tastings

Secret Garden Winery will offer tastings of wine all

three days of the event. The Wine Showcase tent will

Things to do

be located near the entertainment pavilion in Stuart

Park.

Beer garden

The Caladium Festival will have a designated area

for beer sales. This restricted area is sponsored by

the Lake Placid Jaycees and will be located at a booth

in Stuart Park. Wristbands will be provided with the

presentation of valid identification. A variety of beers

will be available.

Art competition

The Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce sponsors

the Caladium Festival Art Competition. All artwork

will be on display at the MidFlorida Credit Union

Community Room, located at 6 N. Main Ave.,

throughout the festival.

Caladium floral competition

The Lake Placid Garden Club sponsors the

Caladium Floral Competition, which features caladium

floral arrangements each day of the festival.

Entries must have all cut fresh flower material with no

less than 80 percent caladiums in the design. There

will be ribbons and prizes awarded for first, second

and third places, professional and people’s choice

awards. For more information, call 863-835-2419.

Bus tours

Bus tours around Lake Placid to see caladium fields

and plantings and meet the growers are available.

Advanced registration available until noon July 23

for $12 per person. Day of the event price is $15 per

person.

The tour schedule is:

Friday, July 23: 9:30 a.m.; 10:15 a.m.; 10:30 a.m.

(handicapped accessible); 11 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. (handicapped

accessible); noon; 1 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:15 p.m.

Saturday, July 24: 9:30 a.m.; 9:45 a.m.; 10:30 a.m.;

10:45 a.m.; 11 a.m.; 11:15 a.m. (handicapped accessible);

11:30 a.m.; 11:45 a.m.; 12:15 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.;

2:15 p.m.

Sunday, July 25: 10:30 a.m. (handicapped accessible);

11 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.

Tours will leave from the Lake Placid Women’s

Club, 10 N. Main Ave. Tours are filled on a first-come,

first-served basis. Handicapped accessible buses are

Schedule of Events

FRIDAY, JULY 23

10 a.m. National

Anthem sung by Marti

Capodiferro

10:05 a.m. NoteWorthy

10:20 a.m. Cool Breeze

11:30 a.m. New

Floridians

12:15 p.m. Cool Breeze

1 p.m. Sweet Fleet

2 p.m. David Mains

4 p.m. Festival closes

SATURDAY, JULY 24

9:45 a.m. National

Anthem sung by Marti

Capodiferro

9:45 a.m. Mountain

Dew Cloggers

10 a.m. New Floridians

10:30 a.m. Mountain

Dew Cloggers

10:45 a.m. New

Floridians

11 a.m. Mountain Dew

Cloggers

11:15 a.m. Mad

Stringers

12:15 p.m. Highland

Celts

1 p.m. Jersey Boys

4 p.m. Festival closes

SUNDAY, JULY 25

11 a.m. National

Anthem sung by Marti

Capodiferro

11:05 a.m. New

Floridians

noon Celebration

Singers

1 p.m. Jersey Boys

2 p.m. David Mains

3 p.m. Festival closes

available. Deadline for advanced reservations at $12

per person is July 23 at noon. For more information,

call 863-465-4331 or visit lpfla.com.

Car and bike show

The Caladium Festival Car and Bike Show is

Saturday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at DeVane

Park. Registration begins at 7 a.m. and closes at noon.

The entry fee is $15 through noon Thursday, and $20

the day of the event. Dash plaques and goody bags

will be given to the first 150 registered vehicles. The

awards presentation is at 2 p.m. The top three vehicles

in each class will receive awards. There will be live

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4 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

30th annual Caladium Festival Bus Tours

Bus Tours will run on July 23, 24 and 25.

Take a bus tour around Lake Placid to see beautiful plantings, the caladium fields and meet the growers that you will see at the festival. Advanced registration

is preferred. Advance reservations for bus tours are $12 per tour until 7/25 at noon. Days of the event — $15 per tour. Tours are approximately

one hour and leave from the Lake Placid Woman’s Club (10 North Main Avenue). They are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so reserve your spot

early. Handicapped accessible buses are available.

Caladium Festival Bus Tours Friday

Jul 23

9:30 a.m.; 10:15 a.m.; 10:30 a.m. Handicap accessible;

11 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. Handicap accessible;

noon; 1 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:15 p.m.

Caladium Festival Bus Tours Saturday

Jul 24

9:30 a.m.; 9:45 a.m.; 10:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.;

11 a.m.; 11:15 a.m. Handicap accessible;

11:30 a.m.; 11:45 a.m.; 12:15 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.;

2:15 p.m.

Caladium Festival Bus Tours Sunday

Jul 25

10:30 a.m. Handicap accessible; 11 a.m.;

11:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.

Festival goers paid to take a bus tour of the caladium fields and see farm equipment as part of the 17th annual Caladium Festival in downtown Lake Placid.

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6 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

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2006, HIGHLANDS TODAY FILE PHOTO Spectators walk through the line up of classic cars during the

Caladium Festival in Lake Placid.

Calling all cars! to the

annual Car & Bike Show

By JERRY MEISENHEIMER

CORRESPONDENT

LAKE PLACID — After a year off due

to COVID-19, the Car & Bike Show is

back on again during the Lake Placid

Annual Caladium Festival, July 24. So, if

you have a fancy car, hot rod, or classic

car or truck, you need to enter it in the

show. Motorcycles are also welcome. In

previous years, there were nearly 200

entries.

The Car & Bike Show is one of the

biggest in the state and offers a ton

of trophies and door prizes. There are

actually 20 categories. So, your special

SHOW | 34

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Thank you for making us a huge success!

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 7

Happiness Farms, caladium pioneer

By AMANDA FERNANDEZ

CORRESPONDENT

LAKE PLACID — Family owned and

operated for over 50 years, Happiness

Farms is one of the original Caladium

pioneer farmers. The caladium farm

Serves both wholesale and retail

markets, as well as homeowners. The

company takes dignity in showcasing

exceptional customer service. They

grow 200 acres of caladium bulbs

which get counted and packed by

hand, ensuring the highest quality

possible.

Paul Phypers Sr., who had experience

in potato farming, was

successfully growing flowers in Lake

Placid. This was due to the flourishing

flower markets all along the East

Coast in the 1940s. He purchased a

40-acre banana farm from a woman

named Mrs. Saunders on what had

been part of Lake Clay. The mucky,

lake-bottom land was great to grow

Chrysanthemums, Easter Lilies and

Gerbera Daises.

Meanwhile, Max Hoffman (a sod

farmer) was experimenting with

growing caladiums in Lake Placid,

despite it not seeming profitable and

many not knowing what a caladium

was. Two other families in the area, the

Hendry and Bates family, also started

growing caladiums in the 1950s. As

time went on and caladiums gained

popularity, the cut flower market

that Paul Phypers Sr. found success

in, started to become flooded with

suppliers. It was in 1964 that Phypers

submersed himself into the caladium

industry and purchased half of the sod

farm that Max Hoffman owned.

Soon, Happiness Farms became

the largest caladium grower in Lake

Placid. Paul Phypers, Sr. left his legacy

to his sons, Danny and Paul Phypers

Jr., along with their wives, their children

and their grandchildren.

Over the years, Happiness Farms

has integrated itself into the community

that was deemed “Caladium

Capital of The World.” A woman by the

name of Doris Gentry came up with

FARM | 35

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Darlene Phypers and Danielle Daum, along with office administration

Briana Haake and Lori Roulette with the Happiness Farms sign.

Happiness Farms caladium field. They grow 200 acres of caladium bulbs which get counted and packed by hand.

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8 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

Florida Boys continues a family legacy

By AMANDA FERNANDEZ

CORRESPONDENT

LAKE PLACID — In 1948, LL and Vivian “Boots”

Holmes started Lake Huntley Bulb Farm with a half

bushel of seed. As time passed, they would move

their operation from the shores of Lake Huntley to

Lake Istokpoga, where they expanded up to 125 acres

of caladiums and operated until 1966. Several years

later, their son Bill Holmes started his own bulb operation

and took on once more the name Lake Huntley

Bulb Farm, while his son Jason Holmes would follow

in his footsteps under the operation name Heartland

Caladiums.

Jason’s wife, Sandi Holmes, who left her physical

therapist job in 2018 to work full time at Florida Boys,

spoke on how they came to be the company they are

today. “In 2000, we started our own business called

Heartland Caladiums. And in 2015, we initiated

Florida Boys Caladiums to get our children more involved

in the business.” They have three boys Walker,

Lincoln and Weston are the future fourth generation

farmers.

Sandi proudly explains that the oldest, Walker (17),

has gotten more involved with the whole aspect of

the business. “He actually helps with harvesting at

times. He works daily, helping to fulfill orders and

packing and counting up the bulbs.” She also happily

mentions that her two other sons help with smaller

tasks. The small family company manages 37 acres,

and besides the helping hands of their three boys,

have five main employees for the season. Jason

Holmes though, is the Renaissance man and heart

of Florida Boys. “He pretty much does everything,”

said Sandi. “He is the one who plants the bulbs, he

harvests the bulbs. He runs majority of the packing

house, inventory, the fertilizing and the plowing.”

For the first 15 years, they operated in wholesale.

But as time went on and their children became more

involved, they changed route and went retail. Florida

Boys in the past year had 42 different varieties to

BOYS | 35

COURTESY PHOTO

Future fourth generation farmers Walker, Lincoln and Weston.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Workers at Florida Boys Caladiums take down a stack of bulbs.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Jason Holmes with family: Sandi, Lincoln and Weston, and their

family dog.

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 9

Classic Caladiums is just getting started

By AMANDA FERNANDEZ

CORRESPONDENT

AVON PARK — Formed in 2000,

Classic Caladiums aims to bring caladiums

to their full potential. Their parent

company, Abbot-Ipco of Dallas, Texas, a

large bulb broker, has been an international

source of caladium bulbs and

more since the early 1970s. Feeling as if

the caladium market was being under

supplied, Abbot-Ipco decided to get

into the bulb production business with

the help of Dr. Robert (Bob) Hartman to

guide them to success.

Dr. Hartman is the President and

CEO of Classic Caladiums and a

very accomplished horticulturist.

He graduated from the University of

Florida with degrees in Plant Pathology

and Entomology, and a minor in

Ornamental Horticulture. He’s been

involved with multiple horticultural

businesses, including starting his own

plant cloning company which he sold to

Ciba Geigy in 1984. “I was working for

a plant cloning company and thought

it might be interesting to go into the

Caladium business,” said Dr. Hartman.

“So we joined forces. We’d known each

other for 30 years.”

From then on, Classics has only

evolved. And with the help of his team,

manages 850 acres of production. This

production puts Classic Caladiums

as the biggest producers of Caladium

bulbs in the world.

The company first started with about

30 varieties and now sells roughly 100

varieties, some the traditional kind,

but they also specialize in “not your

granny’s caladiums.” With Dr. Hartman

not only being one of three people that

breed caladiums, but also being a Cell

COURTESY PHOTO

Dr. Robert (Bob) Hartman in the caladium fields with raised bed.

culturist and having a degree in Plant

Pathology, he and his team have created

and renovated what caladiums can look

like as well as their performance.

Clay Wallace, head grower of the

finished caladium program said, “As

you clean the caladiums up, different

traits are expressed. You can see inside

the leaf better it’s cleaner, brighter. So,

you can see different genes.” Wallace

explained it as a couple who both have

dark hair birthing a child who is a

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Close-up of caladiums at Classic Caladiums in Avon Park.

redhead. “Instead of saying, ‘Oh crap,

you know what colors the milkman?’

you say, ‘I like that’ and so you pick out

the traits that are expressed and you

continue to express them.”

By being able to see those characteristics

and being able to do the

work in-house, Classic Caladiums can

customize and experiment, creating

a whole new look. One of Wallace’s

favorites is a caladium that has a white

leaf that measures 16 by 18 inches,

with dark prominent veins and a black

stem. In fact, they are close to having

one hundred patented caladiums. Dr.

Hartman mentions a variety they have

patented called Real Red River with a

red color and very curly leaves, more

curly than usual. “And we got some negative

feedback,” said Wallace. “I mean

it was just too curly and so we’ve been

looking for still curly, just flatter. And so,

CLASSIC | 36

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10 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

Bates Sons & Daughters continue the family tradition

By AMANDA FERNANDEZ

CORRESPONDENT

LAKE PLACID — Founded by Emmett

Bates after returning from World War II,

Bates Sons (now known as Bates Sons

and Daughters) is one of the first, and

long-lasting caladium growers, in Lake

Placid. What started off as a five-gallon

bucket of mixed bulbs has blossomed

to one hundred acres of brightly colored

and uniquely named caladiums. Not

only are Bates Sons and Daughters rich

in land but in community history as

well.

The family company is one of the two

families responsible for giving a hand

in starting the now famous Caladium

Festival. The idea for the celebration

was first presented by Doris Gentry. In

1990, Dot Bates and Carolyn Phypers of

Happiness Farms, along with Ann Bond

and Audrey Vickers with the Convention

and Visitors Bureau, hosted the first

festival at Happiness Farms. Dot and

Carolyn went above and beyond to

make sure the festival was a success.

For instance, prior to the event, Dot

and Carolyn drove around town in a

pick-up truck and went door to door offering

free bulbs to anyone who would

plant them for bus tours. The tours

would not only pass by the caladium

fields but also drove past the beautifully

caladium decorated homes to showcase

how people could incorporate them

into the landscape.

The first festival was mainly locals but

has since boomed into the main attraction

every summer for many all over

the country. Leading up to the festival,

the entire town (homes and businesses

alike) adorn their properties in caladiums

all the way down to Devane Park,

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/

CORRESPONDENT

where the festival is now held. Though

the festival was cancelled last year due

to COVID-19, Bates Sons and Daughters

are very excited to take part again in the

festivities.

“We’re looking forward to it, it’s a

good time,” said Terri Bates, owner of

Bates Sons and Daughters. “I’m glad

there’s four growers going to be there.

I think that’s better for the attendees,

I think it will show different stuff and

they can go around and take their time

instead.”

This year, Terri said they will be

offering six-inch caladium pots and

will have a new variety this year called

Dots Delight, named after her mother.

They also have the popular Frog in a

Blender, “Because everyone wants Frog

in a Blender,” said Bates. “And we’ll have

quite a few of our unusual ones there,

that they can’t find anywhere else.”

From selling hanging baskets and

bulbs last year in their barn to now

getting ready for a great festival once

more. Bates Sons and Daughters never

stops serving their customers.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

From left: Terri Bates, Don Bates, their granddaughter Mary Grace and Sheri Bates.

Bates Sons & Daughters workers in the field.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

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201 N. Main Avenue, Lake Placid, Florida

863-441-4742


July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 11

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12 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

The Celebration Singers

Cool Breeze Band

The group

started in 1975

and have had

many changes

through the

years. The

members are

Emma Polly

(Vero Beach),

Patty Siggins

(West Palm

Beach) and

Carol Peaden

(Pahokee). They

have sung for

many years

at the South

Florida Fair

in West Palm

Beach, Black

Gold Festival in

Belle Glade and

the Strawberry

Festival in Plant

City, plus other

events. They are

glad to come to

the Caladium

Festival. They

love singing for

the Lord.

Freddie Martinez was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Lake Placid in

1977. He is a percussionist and a vocalist. His passion was to play different styles

of music such as reggae, island music, rock and country. With that in mind, Cool

Breeze was created.

Al Arroyo is a conga drum player from Manhattan, New York who moved to Lake

Placid 10 years ago. When Freddie heard him playing at a local bar, he knew he

was the one for Cool Breeze.

Tony Watson, the guitarist, is a native of Georgia. He lived in Miami and moved

to the Bahamas where he learned the magic of island music and reggae.

COURTESY PHOTO

The Celebration Singers will perform at noon on Sunday, July 25.

Cool Breeze will perform at 10:20 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Friday, July 23.

COURTESY PHOTO

Lake Placid

Florida

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 13

Highland Celts Band

Mad Stringers

Highland Celts Band is Highlands County’s only band solely dedicated to

traditional Celtic music originating in Ireland and Scotland. Charter member

Chris Noel plays the Irish tin, or penny whistle, and flute. Matt Coltharp is featured

playing fiddle and guitar. Bill Williams adds depth and flare on guitar. Michael

Noel backs them up with the Irish drum, the bodhran. All of them have a turn

at singing a variety of tunes including ballads, sea shanties and pub songs. They

encourage crowd participation and often provide chorus lyrics for sing-alongs.

As a special treat, the Irish step dance class from Attitudes Dance Studio will join

them dancing to popular jigs and reels. Class instructor Alyxandra Maxwell might

bring some special dancers from south Florida to join in the show.

COURTESY PHOTO

The Highland Celts will be performing on Friday, July 23 from 3-5 p.m. in The Yard at the Journal

Plaza and Saturday, July 24 at 12:15 p.m. at the festival pavilion.

The Mad

Stringers are a

local favorite

three-piece band

that came out

of Wauchula,

Florida. Alexis

Garay is the

singer and

guitarist, Chris

Garay (her father)

is the bassist and

Jason Harabarugh

is on drums. They

all combine a

lifelong passion

for music that

crosses genres.

At any given

show, tunes from

folk to rock to

instrumentals

are jamming.

Inspired from

her time living

on a sailboat in

the Keys, Alexis

brings a serene,

soulful sound

to her melodies,

while Chris and

Jason provide the

rhythm. Going

on close to three

years strong

making their way

across counties

captivating hearts

and ears.

COURTESY PHOTO

Mad Stringers will perform at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 24.

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14 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

The Jersey Boys

COURTESY PHOTO

Originally from

New Jersey, Lester

started out on the

“Talent Show”

circuit in New Jersey

and Pennsylvania.

He appeared on

Season 4 of America’s

Got Talent and

performs a Neil

Diamond tribute

show for JBE Live.

He has been singing

most of his life and

enjoys it so much, he

started Jersey Boy

Entertainment, LLC.

In 2019!

COURTESY PHOTO

Originally from

Connecticut, Gordon

started singing

in his high school

choir. He quickly

became a soloist

with a deep passion

for Gospel music. He

released a Gospel

CD in 2003. He

continues to sing in

church and enjoys

Karaoke and live

music venues.

COURTESY PHOTO

Originally from Ohio,

Tony started singing

at the age of four

with his father in

local churches in

Ohio and Kentucky.

They recorded their

first record when he

was 8 years old. Tony

sang in a Country

band for 10 years

and now sings just

for the fun of it!

COURTESY PHOTO

Originally from

Maryland, Violet

studied music for

four years at the

famed Peabody

Institute in Baltimore.

She performed

on Cruise ships and

was a professional

DJ for several years.

She now sings for

fun and still enjoys

performing!

COURTESY PHOTO

Originally from

Michigan, Sue started

singing in school

and church choirs. In

2017 and 2018, Sue

competed at the North

American Country

Music Association

competition in Pigeon

Forge, Tennessee. She

placed 1st, 2nd and

3rd in various Country

Music categories

including, “Entertainer

of the Year, New

Country 50 and over!

In 2019, she helped

form JBE, LLC. with her

husband Lester.

COURTESY PHOTO

Originally from New

Hampshire, Howard

has been singing for

fun for many years.

Also, a professional

DJ, he enjoys singing

the Blues, Country and

good ole’ Rock & Roll!

Howard loves singing

so much, he has his

own Shure microphone

he carries to each gig!

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 15

David Mains

Marti Capodiferro

David Mains plays the piano and

sings. While his wife Joanie served in

the U.S. Air Force, David had many

opportunities to entertain people in

several states and across Europe. He

brings over 35 years of entertainment

experience to the Lake Placid Caladium

Festival. He routinely plays the grand

piano for the Contemporary Service

every Sunday at First Presbyterian

Church of Lake Placid in the Genesis

Center. David’s performance style is to

offer audience members the opportunity

to “select a song” from his play list

of 200. David is semi-retired, works as

a paralegal at Karlson Law Group in

Lake Placid and volunteers his time at

church.

Marti has honed her musical talents

on many stages over the years. She

creates a unique mix of pop, opera,

standards, show and movie tunes,

country and patriotic music. Marti

takes you on a journey. When a song

reaches her ears and dives straight into

her heart, she learns it and makes it her

own. That is her unique gift. She can

sing in any style, and is blessed with a

vast vocal range. In addition to opening

the festival each day with her beautiful

rendition of the National Anthem, she

will make guest appearances.

COURTESY PHOTO

David Mains will perform at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 23 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 25.

COURTESY PHOTO

Marti Capodiferro will be opening the festival each day with the National Anthem and she will

make guest appearances.

2019

Highlands News-Sun

CHARLOTTE C. STONE

Attorney at Law

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Classic Caladiums LLC

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Phone: 863-453-0014

Fax: 863-453-0015

Email: info@classiccaladiums.com

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16 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

Mountain Dew Cloggers

The New Floridians

Energetic

and exciting,

the “Mountain

Dew Cloggers”

organization

has existed

for over 30

years and

performed

at all but one

Caladium

Festival. The

Cloggers’

group has

grown over

the years and

is one of the

most popular

performances

at the festival.

Come and

welcome the

Mountain

Dew Cloggers

on Saturday

morning for

their 30th performance

at

the Caladium

Festival. This

group is a

huge hit.

This ministry originated in Tennessee

as the “Tennessee Harmony Boys” in the

early 1950s. After relocating to Florida,

the group’s founder Bill reorganized the

group and renamed it “The Floridians.”

After Bill’s death in 2008, his son, Joe

Long, decided to continue this ministry

with his wife Twanda, brother-in-law

Richard Joynes and dear friend Kim

Zeh. He renamed the group — The New

Floridians. They perform at various venues

throughout the year. This exciting

and intoxicating group performs each

day at the festival — do not miss the

group’s performances! They are great!

In addition to being great singers,

all members served their respective

communities. Joe Long is the Division

Chief of Operations for Osceola

County Fire Rescue and EMS, his

beautiful wife Twanda Long is a retired

process server, brother-in-law Richard

Joynes is a Registered Nurse from

Dunedin and dear friend Kim Feld is

a Police Officer with the Longwood

Police Department.

Joe Long, with the assistance of Ben

Feld, a Physician Assistant, provide

superb sound support for all the

entertainers.

COURTESY PHOTO

The Mountain Dew Cloggers will perform at 9:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and

11 a.m. on Saturday, July 24.

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The New Floridians will perform at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 23; 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on

Saturday, July 24; and 11:05 a.m. on Sunday, July 25.

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Welcome to the

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BATES SONS & DAUGHTERS

CALADIUMS

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81 BATES ROAD • LAKE PLACID, FL 33852

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 17

NoteWorthy

Sweet Fleet

Lead — Chris Fowler is

fairly new to Barbershop

(seven years) but has

taken to it like a duck

to water. He is currently

President of the Sebring

Chapter, Heartland

Harmonizers. Chris works

at South Florida State

College.

Baritone — Matt

Clancy, the only one of

us who has competed on

the international stage

in a quartet many times

and has the hardware

to prove it, including a

Silver Medal singing with

SIGNATURE. Matt is the

Director of our Chorus

and is a Medical Massage

Therapist in Lake Placid.

Tenor — Jim Palmer.

While singing the highest

part, he is also the

oldest member with 47

years in the Barbershop

Harmony Society. He

has sung in Chapter

Quartets and competed

in numerous District

contests for 46 years. Jim

works PIT at Highlands

Master Jewelers (he’s the

one with the handlebar

mustache).

Bass — Stirling Snyder

gets to sing the lowest

part and has been a

member of BHS for

COURTESY PHOTO

NoteWorthy will perform at 10:05 a.m. on Friday, July 23.

25 years. He has sung

Baritone in Chapter

Quartets but loves the

bass part. Stirling has

lived half his life as a

resident of Florida. He is a

department supervisor at

Good Will.

Sweet Fleet is a Fleetwood Mac tribute band composed of five young adults

(ranging in age from 17-21) originating out of Sarasota, Florida. Formed in 2020,

their passion to bring such an iconic group’s chemistry to you shines in everything

they do. For booking info, contact their manager, Gregory Burke, at 941-587-5682.

Sweet Fleet will perform at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 23.

COURTESY PHOTO

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18 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

A caladium tale

More simple growing tips for dramatic landscape color

By NORMA RIZER

Editor’s Note: Reprinted from

the 2019 Caladium Festival

Guide, from the archives of the

Highlands News-Sun.

Caladiums offer the explosion

of color and the dramatic

appeal to improve your landscaping.

With a wide range of

colors and leaf sizes, they work

great in your garden or as a fill

around your trees. We will try

to answer some questions you

may have, so grab a glass of

iced tea, find a cool place to sit

and start planning your yard.

As you have noticed as you

travel around Lake Placid,

this is the middle of Caladium

Country. Take a walk around

the Caladium Festival and

you will find everything from

potted plants to tubers (or

bulbs, if you prefer). Chat with

any of the sellers and they will

get you started in the right

direction by answering any of

your questions.

Like all plants, growing

starts with the correct type of

soil to be successful with your

gardening ideas. Caladiums

do best in well-drained soil,

rich in organic material. With a

little planning and preparation

they will do extremely well

in Florida’s great sandy soil.

Florida also offers the ideal

climate for caladiums; heat

and humidity are just what

they like. Caladiums are also

inclined to thrive in partially

shaded areas, although some

varieties have different light

requirements. Just check with

your supplier on what will meet

your needs.

All the tubers need is to be

planted no more than two

inches below the soil line and

spaced eight to 14 inches apart,

depending on your plans.

Larger tubers will usually

produce more leaves, but small

tubers can produce larger

plants if left in the same spot.

Caladium bulbs will orient

themselves in the ground, but

if there is a pointed end, plant

it pointing up. Check with your

supplier on which fertilizers to

use.

Dry soil will make for unhappy

caladiums. Hot and moist

conditions are necessary for

germination, watering frequently

to keep soil moist but

not soggy. Some varieties are

suitable for full sun, but do not

let them dry out.

In the tropical south, caladiums

can be left in the ground

year round. Lake Placid is in

Planting Zone 9 so there is

no need to remove the bulbs.

Plants in the northern areas will

need to be removed before the

first frost; then replanted the

next year after the chance of

frost is past.

Under more shady conditions,

caladiums will show

more green in the leaves.

Darker colors tend to be more

pronounced in acidic soils. At

least one reference mentions

that fertilizing may cause color

variations, and some varieties

change color as they mature.

Mom always told us bloom

stalks should be removed before

flowering to force bulbs to send

energy to the showy leaves.

Growers here say that although

mom was right about most

things, this is not really needed.

Blooming will not affect the life

or condition of the plant.

Since some gardeners will be

planting in the northern parts,

be sure to follow your supplier’s

instructions when you receive

your tubers.

Here are a few facts if you’re

taking home plants or tubers:

Caladiums are tropical

plants and tubers need to be

stored above 60 degrees with

humidity at about 75 percent.

Good air circulation is critical to

prevent rot.

• Bulbs that have been

exposed to cold temperatures

will sprout slowly.

• Harvest the bulbs and leaves

when temperatures go below 60

degrees; let them dry for a week

or so, then trim the tops before

storing for winter.

• Starting the plants indoors

and transplanting in summer

is a good plan, but bulbs need

warm soil to germinate quickly.

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 19

Caladium Co-Op founded on art, community

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Caladium Arts and Crafts Co-Op gallery. The Co-Op offers workshops, selling or buying caladium-oriented

crafts and remains very involved in the community.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Caladium Arts & Crafts Co-Op founder and Treasurer Carol Mills, Sandi Cross (Advertising) and

President Joni Warner.

By AMANDA FERNANDEZ

CORRESPONDENT

LAKE PLACID — When someone visits

The Town of Murals, also known as

the Caladium Capitol of the World, and

wanders down Interlake Boulevard, they

shall surely see the wonderful Caladium

Arts and Crafts Co-Op. The building

originally was host to a grocery store

in the 1940s, then sat empty for years

before it become home and beacon to

local artists in 1992. It was created and

founded by artists Carol Mills, Harriot

Porter and Suellen Robinson.

Carol Mills, who now serves as

Treasurer and loves to weave on baskets

and looms, explained that the purpose

of the Co-Op was to give a place for

local artists to come together to display

and sell their handcrafted arts. “And

the real reason we wanted to start it

is because a lot of us had been doing

shows outdoors. In Florida, you’re at the

mercy of the weather,” she laughs. “So

we thought, ‘Oh! Wouldn’t it be so nice

to have a place where we can have our

stuff on display all the time?’”

They contacted all the artists they

knew in Highlands County and had

their first meeting, which consisted of

84 people. “We had done a budget and

we knew we needed at least 40 members

to make it work,” said Mills. “And

so, the first night we had 84 people and

30 years later, we are still here.”

The Co-Op is also a source of education

to those interested in learning

anything art. It is totally artist run. From

the gallery to their classrooms, they

offer a variety of different workshops

from painting to pottery. “We used to

have a girl from Nantucket come down

who taught me how to make Nantucket

baskets,” said Mills. “We had Martha

Weatherbee come in and teach Shaker

baskets.”

The Co-Op also has roots in the

community’s mural culture. One of the

Co-Op founders, Harriot Porter, while

on a motorcycle trip to Alaska with

her husband Bob Porter, came across

a town called Chemainus in British

Columbia. It was here they encountered

“larger than life” murals painted around

the town. “So they brought back the

idea of murals,” Mills said. “The first

mural that was painted is right here on

the side of our building.”

If that wasn’t integrated enough,

the Co-Op is very involved with the

Caladium Festival. “They first started

having art competitions and we used

to have it back here and whoever the

winner was of the art competition,

their design was put on the t-shirts and

the posters for the festival,” explained

Mills. “So we’ve always been tied tightly

together with the caladium growers.

That’s why we named it the Caladium

ART | 37

Est. 2003


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20 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 21

Caladiums were first successfully

bred in the1860s. One of the oldest

hybrids, “Candidum” is still a very

popular variety.

By 1910, they had made their way to Florida. Today,

almost all commercial caladium production in the

world takes place in central Florida, most in Lake

Placid. There are approximately 1200 acres in the area

producing these lovely plants and more than 2000

named varieties have been produced over the past

150 years.

Vendors are correct at

time of publication

VENDORS

ANIMAL

P-111 Lakiotis, Peter Sewing for

Animals

22 Kirsch, A Dog Items

ARTS

86 Borges, C Carved Animals

P-108 Braun, D Live Free LLC

P-100 Hittman, N Abstract Artist

P-97 Larson, S Palm Frond Art

17 Nicholas, B Mixed Media

41 Sarzynski, J Southern Paint Pot

15 Sims, L Art on Canvas

4 Wilderman, J John's Pens

BODY PRODUCTS / CREAMS

49 Stern, D Pain Relief Creams

87 Spires, V Bath Bombs, Candles

List with " The Jager team"

they will help you with all your

selling & purchasing needs!

Wendy Jager

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CERAMIC & GLASS

47 Nelson, S Glass Art

25 Bradshaw, D Stained Glass

94 Costello, A Sea Glass

18 Fraser, L Art Glass

21 Ryland, L Stained Glass

CHILDREN’S

81 & 2 Toby’s Clowns Face Art

80 United Methodist Crafts

FABRIC / SEWING

48 Gill, A Knit & Crochet

P-102 McDonough, E Misc.

14 Mosli, M Sun Protection

45 Schumann, Lori Market Totes

20 Toledo, K Purses, etc.

23 Toomey, M Fabric Items

FOOD & DRINK

P-99 Gilbert, W Nuts

16 Heilman, B Get Dusted

9 MIles Pecans

1 Highlands Co. Citrus Juice

Kettle Corn Interlake & Pine

13 Rodreguezy, M Honey

Out Back Snacks Interlake

GARDEN & PLANTS & DECOR

55 Buford, S Plumerias

53 DiGiacome Garden Art

58 Elting, P Bromeliads, Orchids

38-9 Erskine, E Bird House - Feeders

56-7 Gretton, D Perenniels & Herbs

36-7 Hamilton, A Yard Art

91 Higgens, M Deco Pots

54 Lamb, V Desert Rose-Orchids

65 Lloyd, C Exotic Plant Eden

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P-106 Lutz, M Garden Decor

61 Martinez Plants Trees

10 Richie, J Wooden Lawn Art

41 Sarzynski, J Southern Paint Pot

74 Sidney, M Beach Shack Chic

85 Tirado, T Orchids & Plants

60 Wall, S Desert Rose

HATS & HANDBAGS

92

3

Brinker

Ryland, L

Hats & Sunglasses

Stained Glass-Hats

JEWELRY

103-4 Beard, S Suzie's Pearls

2 Barbour, G Earcuffs

88-9 Bell, R Magnetic Jewelry

P-110 Edge, Amy OGZdesigns

75 Fillipone, S Gems Select

62 Griffith, S Beaded Jewelry

24 Henwood, B 2 Fast Cats

11 Moradzadch, A Wire Wrap

42 Rohlfs, B Vintage Wears

8 Roulette, L Roulette Designs

5 Wile, M Tropical Creations

METAL ART

36-37 Hamilton, A Twisted Mind Metal

102 Klemm, J & D Metal Art Creations

MISCELLANEOUS

25 Bradshaw, D DayzAire

6 Campuzano, C Frozen Moments

12 Jolly-Romine Candles, Wax Melts

P 97 Larson, S Palm Frond Art

19 Qin, J Edgest Leather

90 Sandusky, S Grandma's Swag

P-103 Smith, B Painted Glass

81-2 Toby's Clowns Face Painting

P98 Vanderbloom, C Leather

(863) 414-8864

www.FourStarHomes.com

SIGN & BASKETS

101 Adam, C Baskets

67 Bowles, C Signs

105 Cochran, S Stick signs

P-104-5 McKinney Distressed Signs

43 Varley, Gina Signs, etc.

WOOD

38-39 Erskine, E Bird Houses/Chimes

100 McCoy, R Biminibob Art

10 Richi, P Lazy Susans

4 Wilderman, J John's Pens

COMMERCIAL

72 Master Gardeners Help Desk

40 Small Town Girl Insurance

68-70 Zepherhills Water Water Station

50 Vision Auto Glass of Florida

Laurel Adams

Sales Agent/

Assistant

Sharon Taboada

Sales Agent/

Assistant


20 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 21

Caladiums were first successfully

bred in the1860s. One of the oldest

hybrids, “Candidum” is still a very

popular variety.

By 1910, they had made their way to Florida. Today,

almost all commercial caladium production in the

world takes place in central Florida, most in Lake

Placid. There are approximately 1200 acres in the area

producing these lovely plants and more than 2000

named varieties have been produced over the past

150 years.

Vendors are correct at

time of publication

VENDORS

ANIMAL

P-111 Lakiotis, Peter Sewing for

Animals

22 Kirsch, A Dog Items

ARTS

86 Borges, C Carved Animals

P-108 Braun, D Live Free LLC

P-100 Hittman, N Abstract Artist

P-97 Larson, S Palm Frond Art

17 Nicholas, B Mixed Media

41 Sarzynski, J Southern Paint Pot

15 Sims, L Art on Canvas

4 Wilderman, J John's Pens

BODY PRODUCTS / CREAMS

49 Stern, D Pain Relief Creams

87 Spires, V Bath Bombs, Candles

List with " The Jager team"

they will help you with all your

selling & purchasing needs!

Wendy Jager

wendyj@fourstarhomes.com

(863) 414-8864

CERAMIC & GLASS

47 Nelson, S Glass Art

25 Bradshaw, D Stained Glass

94 Costello, A Sea Glass

18 Fraser, L Art Glass

21 Ryland, L Stained Glass

CHILDREN’S

81 & 2 Toby’s Clowns Face Art

80 United Methodist Crafts

FABRIC / SEWING

48 Gill, A Knit & Crochet

P-102 McDonough, E Misc.

14 Mosli, M Sun Protection

45 Schumann, Lori Market Totes

20 Toledo, K Purses, etc.

23 Toomey, M Fabric Items

FOOD & DRINK

P-99 Gilbert, W Nuts

16 Heilman, B Get Dusted

9 MIles Pecans

1 Highlands Co. Citrus Juice

Kettle Corn Interlake & Pine

13 Rodreguezy, M Honey

Out Back Snacks Interlake

GARDEN & PLANTS & DECOR

55 Buford, S Plumerias

53 DiGiacome Garden Art

58 Elting, P Bromeliads, Orchids

38-9 Erskine, E Bird House - Feeders

56-7 Gretton, D Perenniels & Herbs

36-7 Hamilton, A Yard Art

91 Higgens, M Deco Pots

54 Lamb, V Desert Rose-Orchids

65 Lloyd, C Exotic Plant Eden

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P-106 Lutz, M Garden Decor

61 Martinez Plants Trees

10 Richie, J Wooden Lawn Art

41 Sarzynski, J Southern Paint Pot

74 Sidney, M Beach Shack Chic

85 Tirado, T Orchids & Plants

60 Wall, S Desert Rose

HATS & HANDBAGS

92

3

Brinker

Ryland, L

Hats & Sunglasses

Stained Glass-Hats

JEWELRY

103-4 Beard, S Suzie's Pearls

2 Barbour, G Earcuffs

88-9 Bell, R Magnetic Jewelry

P-110 Edge, Amy OGZdesigns

75 Fillipone, S Gems Select

62 Griffith, S Beaded Jewelry

24 Henwood, B 2 Fast Cats

11 Moradzadch, A Wire Wrap

42 Rohlfs, B Vintage Wears

8 Roulette, L Roulette Designs

5 Wile, M Tropical Creations

METAL ART

36-37 Hamilton, A Twisted Mind Metal

102 Klemm, J & D Metal Art Creations

MISCELLANEOUS

25 Bradshaw, D DayzAire

6 Campuzano, C Frozen Moments

12 Jolly-Romine Candles, Wax Melts

P 97 Larson, S Palm Frond Art

19 Qin, J Edgest Leather

90 Sandusky, S Grandma's Swag

P-103 Smith, B Painted Glass

81-2 Toby's Clowns Face Painting

P98 Vanderbloom, C Leather

(863) 414-8864

www.FourStarHomes.com

SIGN & BASKETS

101 Adam, C Baskets

67 Bowles, C Signs

105 Cochran, S Stick signs

P-104-5 McKinney Distressed Signs

43 Varley, Gina Signs, etc.

WOOD

38-39 Erskine, E Bird Houses/Chimes

100 McCoy, R Biminibob Art

10 Richi, P Lazy Susans

4 Wilderman, J John's Pens

COMMERCIAL

72 Master Gardeners Help Desk

40 Small Town Girl Insurance

68-70 Zepherhills Water Water Station

50 Vision Auto Glass of Florida

Laurel Adams

Sales Agent/

Assistant

Sharon Taboada

Sales Agent/

Assistant


22 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

Free video explains caladium farming

By NORMA RIZER

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Editor’s Note: Updated and reprinted

from an article written by Norma Rizer

for a previous Caladium Festival.

LAKE PLACID — Caladiums are not

native to Highlands County, but you’d

never know it to wander through

Lake Placid during the 30th annual

Caladium Festival. The town has

embraced these beautiful plants and

made them our own.

Learning more about the introduction

of caladiums into the area is easy,

if you take time to see the short video

that explains a great deal about the

beautiful plants. Make time during

the festival (or anytime you’re in Lake

Placid) to stop by the Greater Lake

Placid Chamber of Commerce at 18

N. Oak Avenue. There you can view

a free video that welcomes you to

Lake Placid and introduces you to the

caladium growing process.

Beginning with the explanation of

our nickname “Caladium Capital of

the World”, the video shows the specialized

soil that, along with the warm

weather, makes caladium production

ideal. The video proceeds to identify

the main Floridian horticulturists

involved in early caladium production,

including the men who first grew

the showy plants right here in Lake

Placid. Photos have been provided so

the viewer can visualize these men

working in their greenhouses and

gardens.

In addition to providing a glimpse at

caladium fields, some of the various

popular cultivars are portrayed.

Actual footage of bulb preparation

and planting are shown. Surprisingly,

the process is similar to any farming

operation, although the specialized

equipment is slightly different.

From field to shipping, the story

is told in a pleasant, interesting

manner. For those more interested

in home gardening of caladiums,

information is provided clearly

and concisely. There’s even a short

section about bringing caladiums

indoors after they go dormant for

the winter season. This is absolutely

necessary in northern climates, but

southern gardeners also have been

known to do this.

“The Caladiums of Lake Placid”

presents a wealth of information in

just under 13 minutes. Produced

locally by the Chamber of Commerce

and the Lake Placid Caladium

Growers Association, the video

was written and filmed by Big Byte

Productions. Visitors will be delighted

to learn more about the caladium

industry; at the very least, they will

see some stunning photography of

gorgeous plants.

The video is shown continually

in the mural room at the chamber

during the open hours of the festival

and is included with your bus tour

ticket. Stop by at your convenience

for a closer look at the star of the

event. Volunteers will be hand to

offer directions and answer questions

about Lake Placid and area

attractions, including the famous

Lake Placid murals.

FILE PHOTO

A visit to the colorful caladium fields that can be seen from County Road 621 is a must for

summertime visitors to Lake Placid. This is the time of year when the fields are in full color.

FILE PHOTO

The story of caladium farming is told in a free video at the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce.

This is the Lemon Blush variety Classic Caladiums offers.

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 23

Caladium Festival is rich with history

Editor’s Note: This is a condensed

version of an article written by Anne

Reynolds for a previous Caladium

Festival.

Lake Placid is “The Caladium Capital

of The World.” For any industry that

makes such a mark on an area, there

should be a festival celebrating it.

The idea was first broached by Doris

Gentry and a few years later growers

were prodded and helped by Ann

Bond and Audrey Vickers from the

Convention and Visitors Bureau. They

suggested September as the caladiums

were in full bloom and it was a slow

month for merchants.

Unfortunately, the written history and

a large historical exhibit of the caladium

industry were lost in a 2004 hurricane,

but enough survived in family files to

tell the story and continue the festival.

In 1990, two competing caladium

grower families decided to work together

to make the festival possible. Carolyn

Phypers of Happiness Farms and

Dot Bates of Bates Sons & Daughters

Caladiums took on the job.

The first location of the festival was

at Happiness Farms. In preparation,

Bates and Phypers drove a pickup truck

and walked door to door offering free

caladium bulbs (tubers) by the bagful to

anyone from County Road 621 to Lake

Blue Estates who would plant them. Bus

tours ferried visitors to see the fields

and then be shown how beautifully

caladiums could be incorporated into a

landscape. Two years later, they added

the WatersEdge neighborhood and

left trays of bulbs in the cul-de-sac for

anyone who wanted to plant them.

The festival had one bus and two runs

FILE PHOTO

Festivalgoers will have many options when come to purchasing plants at this year’s Caladium

Festival in downtown Lake Placid.

the first year, with the number increasing

to as many as 41 tours in a year with

one bus doing four or five runs. Sun

Bank, now SunTrust, donated $3,000 the

first year to start the effort and continued

its support for several years.

Vera, Rose and Julia Sapp entertained

festival crowds as cloggers, and guests

also viewed a video about the industry

in a barn. Norma Stokes and the ladies

of the local Farm Bureau provided

lunch for everyone. All the growers

were assigned a task and had a display

table. Other growers besides Bates and

Phypers who participated the first year

were D & L Bulb Farm, Cooper’s Farm,

Joiners, Lake Huntley, Lake Placid

Bulb, Parker Island, Hendry Caladiums,

Sapp Caladiums, Scarboroughs from

Lake Placid, and Caladium World and

Buddy’s from Sebring.

One important commitment was to

recognize the living, first generation

caladium pioneers, Emmett and

Mildred Bates, Paul Phypers Sr., Boots

Holmes, and Zena Hendry. Some of

the older growers would sit in rocking

chairs at the Caladium Arts and Crafts

Cooperative and talk with visitors. All

the men took turns standing under

the shade cloth to talk to visitors and

answer questions. It was moved then

into the Caladium Arts and Crafts

Cooperative, with Dot and Maxine

Kelley overseeing the historical aspect.

Maxine’s family was involved in the

industry for many years, and her

granddaughter, Heidi (Head) Davis, was

the first Caladium Queen.

Although the number of growers

has decreased over the last few years,

the second generations of growers are

making their mark. The Bates family has

had a grower’s exhibit each year. Their

daughter, Teri, grows out pots of new

varieties. All members of the Bates and

Phypers families can be seen in action

throughout the festival.

The festival has something for everyone.

All food vendors are local and the

Caladium Festival committee ensures

there are no duplicates. They only have

room for a hundred booths so there’s a

long waiting list for arts and crafts vendors,

with an attempt to keep at least

half of the booths caladium related. The

vendors love the venue because they are

welcomed and given coffee, doughnuts,

and orange juice when they set up.

They also receive water throughout the

day and a bag of caladiums at the end.

Vendors are visited, treated well and immediately

apply for the following year.

Lake Placid is usually the first venue of

their season.

The festival has required the support

of numerous community volunteers.

The town and the county have been

very supportive by blocking off the

streets and giving free garbage pickup.

Carolyn Phypers said, “We wanted to

help the town and businesses, so the

second year we held it in town.” Every

HISTORY | 37

Some of us

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24 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

Lake Placid has it all

Small towns sometimes have a

reputation for being a bit boring, but

most of them have many redeeming

qualities; Lake Placid certainly does.

While residents enjoy a slower pace

than folks in larger communities, they

are quick to point out the benefits —

ease of access (traffic is not generally

a problem), reduced crime rates

(everybody knows everyone else)

and you have lots of friendly people

(everybody really knows everyone

else).

When asked why they chose Lake

Placid, residents almost always

mention the close proximity to both

of Florida’s coasts. If beaches or larger

shopping outlets beckon, the drive is

generally about an hour, making for a

spectacular day trip without giving up

the little slice of heaven here in the

heartland.

Lake Placid still celebrates holidays

in the traditional manner —

Independence Day and Halloween

are community events; there’s a

Christmas parade each year and the

local high school still holds a homecoming

parade.

In July, caladiums begin to show

up everywhere, which is the reason

for one of Lake Placid’s nicknames,

Caladium Capital of the World,” as

more than 80% of the world’s caladium

bulbs are grown here and shipped

to market. The local economic engine

is driven by agriculture and tourism.

In addition to the caladium production

in the fertile bottom lands,

higher grounds give way to citrus

groves and cattle ranching.

Visitors soon notice many buildings

in the community decorated with

beautiful and informative murals,

many of which tell

the story of historical

events and the people

of Lake Placid. Most of

the murals are maintained

by the local

Mural Society, which

publishes a guide

book that is available

for purchase at the

chamber of commerce

and many retail stores.

It’s easy to see how

Lake Placid came by

another nickname,

“The Town of Murals.”

FILE PHOTO

“’Captain’ T.W. Webb” depicts one the area’s first caladium growers in the 1930s, who, at the

time, owned the first and only service station between Sebring and West Palm Beach. The

mural is on Davis and Tompkins, Attorneys at Law, 107 Interlake Blvd.

FILE PHOTO

Highlands County

is home to many

due to our location on the Lake Wales

Ridge, a stretch of high ground that

runs down the peninsula. The ridge,

once a string of islands surrounded

by an ocean that receded thousands

of years ago, is home to many

threatened and endangered species.

Some of them are found nowhere

else in the world. Archbold Biological

Station was established near here as a

scientific center for study of the area.

Lake June Scrub Park and Highlands

Hammock State Park give a glimpse

into nature in the county. You may

see sandhill cranes, gopher tortoises,

scrub jays, and of course, alligators

water lakes, offering water sports

and some of the best fishing in the

United States. Sport fishing makes

any day on the water a treat. Check

with any of the local boat retailers or

bait shops to get headed in the right

direction.

There are eight local parks to provide

more entertainment opportunities,

including lake access. Of course,

golfing in Florida’s fine weather is

grand and Lake Placid has two golf

courses open to the public. There’s a

winery nearby, with locally produced

wines available at the festival.

There’s a wide variety of retail

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 25

Caladium growers play unique role in local agriculture

STAFF REPORT

It takes a lot of caladiums

to make Lake Placid the

Caladium Capital of the

World.” Lake Placid’s claim to

fame is well-earned with virtually

all commercial production

of caladiums taking place right

here in central Florida. Most of

those growers have fields here,

on the rich dirt near the south

shore of Lake Istokpoga.

While growers have come

and gone over the many years,

about a dozen are currently

providing bulbs to the retail

market. Most are family owned

and operated, with the caladium

pioneers passing along

their secrets and their fields to

new generations.

From Lake Placid, Bates Sons

& Daughters Inc.; Good Day

Caladiums; Happiness Farms

Inc.; Heartland Caladiums;

Hendry Caladiums Inc.; Lake

Country Farms; Lake Huntley

Bulb Farm; and Lake Placid

Bulb Company farm caladiums.

From Sebring, Caladium World;

Mrs. G.R. Spaulding; and

Rainbow Acres are all growers.

Currently in Avon Park, only

Classic Caladiums actively

works a caladium farm.

Without these dedicated

families and businesses,

gardeners in North America

would be hard-pressed to find

caladiums to buy.

Another unique contribution

caladium growers provide

to the agriculture industry is

the production of specialized

FILE PHOTO

Seen here in 2012, Jose Becerra rides on the back of a caladium harvesting

machine in one of Bates Sons & Daughters’ fields along County Road 621 near

Lake Placid.

farming equipment in order to

cultivate caladium plants. The

process of harvesting the plants

is highly unique and required

local growers to come up with

new mechanisms to farm the

caladiums, according to staff at

Bates Sons & Daughters.

When Florida caladium

breeding first began in about

1910, they quickly became a

garden favorite. The movement

didn’t really take off until about

1937 or so, as production was

limited.

By the 1950s, only about 150

acres were planted in caladiums

in this area. Now, more

than 1,200 acres are devoted to

the showy plant.

With help from the Institute

of Food and Agricultural

Sciences at the University

of Florida and an extensive

research program at Louisiana

State University, growers have

advanced information about

techniques for caladium

production, protection and

processing.

At the urging of local caladium

pioneers, IFAS initiated a

caladium breeding program in

1976. Over the past 19 years,

the program has released

several new cultivars, many of

which are available at various

sources.

FAST FACTS

When Florida caladium

breeding first began in about

1910, it quickly became a

garden favorite. The movement

didn’t really take off until

This is the Blushing Bride variety from Classic Caladiums.

about 1937, as production was

limited. By the 1950s, only

about 150 acres were planted

FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO

While caladium growers have come and gone over the years, about a dozen

are currently providing bulbs to the retail market. Most are family owned and

operated, with the caladium pioneers passing along their secrets and their

fields to new generations.

in caladiums in this area. Now,

more than 1,200 acres are

devoted to the showy plant.

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26 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

A look back at previous festivals

For 30 years the Caladium Festival has

been as dependable as a summer afternoon

shower in Florida. It all started

when local caladium growers Carolyn

Phypers and Dot

Bates decided to

raise awareness

of their colorful

plants and bulbs

and celebrated a

mini-festival in

the parking lot of

Happiness Farms

on County Road 621.

It takes a lot of caladiums to make

Enjoy photos

from past

Caladium

Festivals on

pages 26-33

Lake Placid the “Caladium Capital of the

World” and it takes a lot of volunteers

to put on the annual Caladium Festival.

For 29 years, people from all over the

state have embarked on Lake Placid to

attend the festival and had it not been

for the pandemic’s lingering effect, last

year would have been no different. Here

are a few photos from our archives,

dedicated to the hardworking caladium

farmers and the dedicated volunteers

who bring this grand event to downtown

Lake Placid each year. Enjoy as

you look back at previous festivals.

ALL PHOTOS ARE FILE PHOTOS

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 27

FILE PHOTO

The 2019 Caladium Festival coordinators.

From left: Patti Gayle, bus tours,

Sandy Rossborough, Caladium Festival

art gallery, Marge Callas, Caladium

Festival arts and craft booths, Marlene

Barger, entertainment coordinator, and

Eileen May, Greater Lake Placid Chamber

of Commerce executive director and

Caladium Festival event coordinator.

Not pictured: Joyce De Smet, Caladium

Festival arts and craft booths, and Karen

Forsyth, Caladium Festival T-shirts.

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28 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

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Caladium Festival

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 29

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34 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

TO DO

FROM PAGE 3

music, food, and a 50/50 drawing.

The event will take place rain or shine.

Spectator admission is free. For more

information, call 863-465-4331 or visit

lpfla.com.

Caladium Festival dance

The Lake Placid Jaycees Caladium

Festival Dance is Saturday, July 24 at

the Moose Lodge from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Cost is $10 at the

door, and you must be 21 or older to

attend. Live entertainment provided by

Josh Blevins band. The Moose Lodge is

at 2137 U.S. 27 South.

Journal Plaza

Visit the Farmer’s Market at the

Journal Plaza in downtown Lake Placid

from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Saturday.

Enjoy live music and shop for fresh

produce and unique gifts. The Journal

Plaza is at 231 N. Main Ave. For more

information, call 863-273-4030.

Clowns

Toby’s Clown Museum is at 109

W. Interlake Blvd. Admission is free.

Learn about clowns and the community

involvement of the Toby the

Clown Foundation Inc. Clowns will

also be roaming the event to amuse

festivalgoers and will have a booth

Saturday to coincide with the Car and

Bike Show. For more information, call

863-465-2920.

Depot museum

The Depot Historical Museum is at

12 Park St. The museum offers visitors a

display of historical furnishings, photos,

documents, clothing, tools, lanterns,

turpentine industry equipment, a

switchboard and linotype machine.

The grounds also feature a 1929 steam

engine, a 1920s-era jail and a caboose.

Admission is free. For more information,

call 863-465-1771.

SHOW

FROM PAGE 6

car, truck or motorcycle will certainly

fit into at least one of them.

It might even be chosen for a new

award this year – Best of Show!

As always, the car show coincides

with the Caladium Festival just up

the street. The Festival is held at

Stuart Park on Interlake Blvd. while

the cars and motorcycles are on

display at DeVane Park, on the circle

in the Town of Lake Placid.

Bob Larson has been in charge

of the show for many, many years.

He’s proud of it. Starting at 7 a.m. on

Saturday, July 24, vehicles entered in

the show will be checked in. Goodie

bags and a number will be given to

the drivers as they are directed to

their display spot.

In fact, if you would like to be a

volunteer to assist at the starting

line, give Bob a call at 863-464-0037.

That way you get to see all the

entries as they arrive.

One of the biggest features of

the Lake Placid Car & Bike Show is

the 50/50 drawing. It always has a

very rewarding cash prize. A trophy

will be given out for the “Mayor’s

Choice” and the “Police Chief’s

Choice” as well. A DJ will be onhand

to do the announcements and

provide a variety of music.

This annual event is presented

by the Greater Lake Placid

Chamber of Commerce. Go to

caladiumfestival.org. You’ll find

the car show entry form there.

Pre-registration is only $15 – or

you can just show up that morning

for $20. If you have more

questions, call the chamber office

at 863-465-4331.

FILE PHOTO

2006, HIGHLANDS TODAY FILE PHOTO Doug Edmonds of Cape Coral glances toward his 1939 five

window Ford Coupe Street Rod during the classic car show at the Caladium Festival in Lake Placid.

JERRY MEISENHEIMER/CORRESPONDENT

Garrett Lanier, an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard, just bought this 1967 Ford Fairlane

while on leave. He’s getting it ready for his dad to show at the Lake Placid Car & Bike Show on

July 24.

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 35

BOYS

FROM PAGE 8

to offer. Sandi loves the fact the idea

of being able to carry on the legacy of

Jason’s grandparents, LL and Vivian

Boots. “I think they would be ecstatic,

seeing what he has done with carrying

on their name,” Sandi said. “I mean,

them being the ones that brought it

to this area in the late 1940s and it’s

still going on in their family makes me

smile, thinking they’re looking down,

smiling upon him.”

Florida Boys will also be participating

in the Caladium Festival this year. This

will be the second time participating for

the company. “We’re very excited the

kids really enjoy being up there with all

the people, and all the people that know

Florida Boys enjoy seeing the kids,” said

Sandi. “Which is fun, keeping it, you

know, family owned and operated.”

Through the many twists, turns, company

names and titles throughout time

of the Boots family, some things may

have changed, but their long-standing

legacy has not. Florida Boys plans to

keep it that way for as long as they can.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Bulbs in a crate at the Florida Boys facility.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

One of the workers at Florida Boys Caladiums.

FARM

FROM PAGE 7

hold a festival to promote and celebrate

such an industry, and to bring visitors

into town. With the help of Ann Bond

and Audrey Vickers of the Convention

and Visitors Bureau, they started to

prod surrounding farmers about being

involved.

In 1990, two caladium competitors

decided to unite, to help finally bring

this festival to life. One of those

competitors was Carolyn Phypers of

Happiness Farms. The other was Dot

Bates of Bates Sons and Daughters.

The first Caladium Festival was

held at Happiness Farms, where a

dinner was cooked by the Highlands

County Cattlemen and served by the

Cattlewomen, and guests were able

to take bus tours of the fields. The

following year the two families came

together again and were able to expand

the festival to Stuart Park with food,

art, music and of course caladiums. It’s

been held there ever since.

For the past 20 years since the start of

the festival, Happiness Farms has also

donated Caladium bulbs around Lake

Placid, to help showcase the beauty of

the plant. With the festival being cancelled

last year due to COVID-19, and

the year prior the farm experiencing

heavy loss due to heavy rain, Danielle

Daum (a third generation farmer) who

manages the office, expressed that

they’re very excited to take part in upcoming

festivities. This year, Happiness

Farms will sell around 28 varieties of

bulbs at the anticipated festival. Some

featured varieties include the popular

Cranberry Star, Fanni Munson and

Florida Moonlight — Darlene’s new

favorite.

One thing is absolute, whatever

customers wanted to converse about,

the team was always happy to hear from

them and to develop relationships. They

hold their customers to such high regards

that even when they locked their

doors in 2020, they instated an honor

system by placing tables out front with

bulbs and a money box for payments.

“We had people come knock on the

door and give us a thumbs up. We had

notes in the box, ‘You saved my sanity,’”

said Phypers.

Much like their patriarch, Paul

Phypers Sr., the legacy at Happiness

Farms still went by his old motto,

“For your satisfaction, enjoyment and

health.”

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36 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

CLASSIC

FROM PAGE 9

And so, you’re breeding for that look,

only with a flatter leaf, so we got two

out there now that we’re evaluating this

year.”

Another impressive feat of Classic

Caladiums is in the summer of 2019,

when they teamed up with Lowe’s for an

interior caladium production trial run.

“We developed the recipe and what the

growing practices for these caladiums

would be, to last in the household. We

developed a practice that would keep

them from stretching three or four

weeks and you can enjoy them in your

house, then move them outside and

continue to enjoy them,” explained

Wallace.

Classic Caladiums has also taken

part of the Caladium Festival since

2017, after Hurricane Irma struck and

devastated many of the caladiums. “In

2017, half of the farm was raised plastic

and half was open fields, very similar to

Lake Placid but only on sand,” explained

Hartman. “We had an 85% loss

on our open fields and had a 15% loss

on our raised beds.”

The team at Classic Caladiums is

proud of the growth and amazing

accomplishments that they have made

since the company started in 2000. And

as Dr. Hartman said, “I think we’ve just

begun.”

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Some of the patents that Classic Caladiums have accomplished.

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Classics Caladiums manages 850 acres of production. This production

puts Classic Caladiums as the biggest producers of Caladium bulbs in the

world.

Toby the Clown Foundation

Toby The Clown Foundation, Inc. is an out growth of a large number of people

who perform as clowns for educational and entertainment. They do performances at

hospitals, nursing homes, children day care centers, libraries, churches,

shut-ins, Hospice organizations, and schools.

Mission:

It has been proven that humor, smiles, love, and laughter has a definite benefit

to a person’s health and well being. Come join us and help us spread

this clown medicine to all.

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 37

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Joni Warner shows the free DIY Kraft Kits for Kids section.

ART

FROM PAGE 19

Arts and Crafts Co-Op.”

The Co-Op may no longer present the art competition, but that doesn’t mean

you won’t find them showing their own arts and crafts for the festival. They have

live art demonstrations for festival attendees and sell lunch inside the building.

Sandi Cross, who handles advertising, said she loves the live demonstrations,

AMANDA FERNANDEZ/CORRESPONDENT

Co-Op founder Carol Mills with Co-Op President Joni Warner.

due to the fact that it gets people involved. “It encourages people,” said Cross. “If

somebody that does that at home, they come and see that it’s down here, then

they ask ‘Oh, how can I put my stuff in?’” The building also serves as a rest place

during the festival from the insufferable Florida heat. Jon Warner, president of

the Co-Op, jokingly said people mainly come in for their air conditioning during

festival time.

Whether it’s taking up a workshop, selling or buying caladium-oriented crafts,

being part of the art community or simply looking to escape the heat, the

Caladium Arts and Crafts Co-Op may have something for everyone.

HISTORY

FROM PAGE 23

Every year since, the festival has

been held in Stuart Park on Interlake

Boulevard. The festival month was later

changed to August because of hurricane

season and this year moves again to the

last full weekend in July.

“What sustained the festival have

been the profits from selling the potted

plants which Bates grows, and the

caladium bulbs which Happiness Farms

bags up and sells,” said Dot Bates.

“All of that money went back into

the festival to keep it going,” Phypers

added.

The festival has grown and become

popular with locals and vendors. All

proceeds from the festivals, which

included large personal donations,

were used for expenses, saved for

future festivals and have supported

LOCAL

News &

Information

many worthwhile community projects.

One year donations included a $2,000

scholarship and donations to the police

department, schools, the chamber of

commerce, Educational Foundation,

Woman’s Club, Last Chance Ranch,

Masonic Lodge, beautification of Stuart

Park, Town of Lake Placid, and Bradenton

Research Center for a total of $8,200

festival dollars given back to the area.

The success of the festival over the

years has been a commitment of grower

OPENING

SOON

OPEN MON-FRI 9AM-6PM • SAT 9AM-5PM

participation, volunteers, returning

vendors, and the people who come from

everywhere to enjoy the unique flavor of

a small town. Some have decided to come

back and make it their home.

The festival was turned over to the

chamber of commerce in 2007. We are

indebted to the Phypers and Bates families

for their investments, perseverance,

hard work, and dedication to use their

finances, time and expertise to make our

community a better place.

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July 21, 2021 30th Annual Caladium Festival 39

ALL

FROM PAGE 24

shopping and restaurants in the area, making living here easy for residents

and visitors alike. Lake Placid is also home to the American Clown Museum

and School, where classes account for more than 1,800 graduates taking

“Smiles, Love and Laughter” back into their communities. In fact, Lake Placid

boasts more clowns per capita than any other town in the world. The Depot

Museum, managed by the Lake Placid Historical Society, is housed in a train

station built in 1927. Both museums operate on donations and boast free

admission.

It’s easy to see why residents love Lake Placid and visitors come back time

after time.

“Sandhill Cranes Dawn Patrol” depicts the area’s well-known cranes in an early morning scene. The mural is on the Lake Placid Women’s Club at Main Street and Park Street.

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40 30th Annual Caladium Festival July 21, 2021

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