Guest Author - Susan Taylor
If you love orchids you need to make plans to attend the 19th World Orchid Conference (WOC) coming to Miami, Florida, January 23-27, 2008. The conference is held every three years in different parts of the world and it will be approximately 25 years before it returns to the United States. It is a unique opportunity for us to see the best in orchids as well as visit one of the most prolific growing areas for orchids in the country. The show is co-hosted by the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society and the South Florida Orchid Society, both of which are well known for the spectacular shows they host each year – so we should indeed expect the best from this one!
The basic premise of a WOC is that it is established to be of interest to the average grower as opposed to many other international conferences which are more focused toward either the scientific community or the commercial grower. Although many of the speakers will be offering advanced or scientific topics, most presentations will be geared to be understandable to the everyday grower. And of course, anyone can enjoy the exhibits and especially the sales booths.
These international conferences are known for their extravagant and showy exhibits. Vendors and exhibitors vie for prestigious trophies and put together heart-stopping exhibits in order to impress the judges. This will be an event to remember!
The centerpiece of the conference is the slate of speakers who will provide information on three main areas of interest: scientific, conservation, and horticulture. Keynote speakers Phillip J. Cribb and Roger Hammer are internationally known in the orchid community. Cribb will speak on “Orchids in a Changing Climate” and Hammer will present “Introduction to the Orchids of Florida.” Then one-hour breakout sessions will be held throughout the conference.
The show itself will have exhibits from hundreds of exhibitors from around the world. It will be held in the Exhibition Center of the Sheraton Miami Mart Hotel which has been recently renovated and provides __________ square feet of exhibition space. There will be both displays as well as sales booths for attendees. In conjunction with the show there will be a number of bus tours to some of the biggest orchid vendors in the immediate area for those of us who just have to buy orchids while there.
In addition to the orchids themselves, there will be competitions in orchid art, painting, photography, cake decorating, quilting, and flower arranging. These competitions will all be open to registrants.