Exotic and elusive as orchids are, there’s a way to enjoy a truckload all at once without the tropical plane ticket: the annual Orchids By the Bay show, hosted by the Northwestern Michigan Orchid Society at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, in Traverse City on Saturday, May 24 from noon to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, though donations are accepted to benefit the Northwestern Michigan Orchid Society, a nonprofit organization.
MyNorth.com stopped by as the Northwestern Michigan Orchid Society members were setting up this year’s show. Crates of stunning orchids, yards of black matte background fabric and shelving lined the lobby area of the Traverse City Civic Center. Some of the larger displays in previous years have used boulders, tree trunks and even 10-foot photo backdrops. By Friday evening, dozens of orchids in arrangements from exotic to cottage chic will be ready for judging.
Orchids By the Bay is an American Orchid Society sanctioned show, where the flowers and arrangements are judged. There are more than 15 trophies possible and countless ribbons awarded at the show based on strict guidelines for the species, the arrangement and the origin of the orchid. Visitors may also vote on the People’s Choice award for the favorite orchid exhibit of the public.
In addition to enjoying the breathtaking displays, visitors will find out how to identify and where to find Northern Michigan orchids like the sought-after Lady’s Slipper or the Moccasin Flower orchid blooming right now in several Northern Michigan State Parks. Experts will also be on hand for information on enjoying orchids in your home, including tropical orchids as houseplants, or Northern Michigan’s native orchids in your garden. Native orchids should not be disturbed, especially those in Northern Michigan’s State Parks, so experts at Orchids By the Bay will provide information on appropriate means of enjoying orchids on suitable properties. Plus there will be plants available for purchase.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture the fascinating world of Northwestern Michigan Orchid Society.
For more information about the Orchids by the Bay Show or joining the Northwestern Michigan Orchid Society, visit nmorchid.org.
There are hundreds of orchids to see at this event. Even if you drop in for just a few moments, you’ll be inspired by the remarkable beauty of these blooms. Here are a few to watch for: