Ambriz Kingdom of Plants display was all set to go for the 2020 Santa Barbara International Orchid Show, which was abruptly canceled due to pandemic restrictions that year. The show is finally back in action March 10-12 at Earl Warren Showgrounds. | Credit: Heidi Kirkpatrick

Orchids, one of Earth’s most beloved flowering plants, make a stunning reappearance at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in this year’s 75th annual Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. This spectacular showcase of flowers, a long-running tradition in Santa Barbara, was put on hold during the pandemic restrictions of large gatherings and is finally back in all of its beautiful glory after three years. 

With the theme: “Orchids — The Adventure Returns,” this year’s exhibits will be in full bloom March 10-12 at Earl Warren Showgrounds.

2019 Phragmipedium Tall Tails ‘Hungtington’s Gateway’ | Credit: Ramon de los Santos

The show offers gorgeous art installations, a wide variety of vendors and exhibitors, and numerous opportunities to learn more about these extraordinary plants. “The exhibit hall is just awesome,” says Lauris Rose, the Santa Barbara International Orchid Society president (who also co-owns Cal-Orchid, Inc. here in town). “The vendors are very diverse; they come from around the world — they’re not weekend warriors.” The benefit here being that show-goers can have questions about orchid cultivation answered by knowledgeable professionals.

Losing several years to COVID was an enormous setback for the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show, which normally attracts 8,000-10,000 visitors, according to the organizers, a nonprofit organization with a board of directors who are primarily commercial orchid growers. 

“[It] was a monumental belly punch for a nonprofit in the truest sense of the word,” says Rose. “We’re not gassing up our jet with this, we do it because we love it…. We make enough money to put on this show every year, and then we begin again.” 

Rose urges orchid lovers and horticulturists (or anyone who appreciates what Rose calls “nature’s art”) to donate to the cause via the orchid show’s webpage. “All donations great and small are welcome so we can get back up on track,” says Rose. Get a one-day pass to the show for $20, or a three-day pass for $30, and experience the splendor of the exquisite orchid and the passion of their devoted growers.

Santa Barbara International Orchid Show takes place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., March 10-12, at Earl Warren Showgrounds (3400 Calle Real). See

Orchid Display | Credit: Heidi Kirkpatrick


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