Monday, November 10, 2008

The Pacific Orchid Exposition - POE

The Pacific Orchid Exposition is the largest show west of the Mississippi and my personal favorite. It will be held Thursday, March 5, 2009 through Sunday, March 8, 2009 at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

Every year I volunteer for something to help out. I started with the plant hotel and then ribbon judging. I am thinking of adding something else this year, possibly helping to set up one of the displays.

Ribbon judging is hard work but very rewarding. It takes place Thursday afternoon and is in addition to the AOS judging that is going on at the same time. Ribbon judges don't have to have any special knowlege since each group of judges of headed by a real judge. Every time I participate I learn more.

The opening Gala is in the evening following the judging. The price of admission gets you wine sampling, food and music, and of course, first shot at buying orchids. There is plenty of everything, and as the saying goes, a good time was had by all.

The only caution I might make is not to expect to make dinner out of the food. I did that the first year, and now I bring a sack lunch. There is lots of food, but the range is fairly narrow. And the lines for the food can get pretty long. Delicious, but not dinner. Plan to eat your main meal either before coming or after. That way you can enjoy the festivities much more.

My favorite time to shop is Friday morning at 10:am. Last year I did about $250 worth a damage to my credit card in less than 15 minutes. I had my purchases all scoped out and was ready to go. I made my purchases and then was off to my post at the plant hotel.

Some people wait until Sunday to shop, hoping for bargains. It is true that there are vendors who would rather clear the tables than pack it all up, but I find that the plants have been well picked over by then. Also, there are many, many more people on Sunday than on Friday.

I hope you can come to POE this year. It is a real experience. Even if you don't plan to buy anything the displays are wonderful and the window shopping in the vendor section will will have you drooling.

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