Farm & Garden: Asheville Orchid Festival will draw thousands

2014 WNCOS Orchid Show attendees enjoy hundreds of orchid exhibits. Photo by Julie McMillan courtesy of WNCOS

The 18th Annual Asheville Orchid Festival is expected to be the biggest ever, thanks to a joint effort among the North Carolina Arboretum, the Western North Carolina Orchid Society (WNCOS) and the American Orchid Society. The festival — which is being held in conjunction with AOS’ 2016 national spring meeting — is expected to attract nearly 10,000 visitors, including top national and international orchid experts. The festival is open to the public April 15-17, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the North Carolina Arboretum.

“Our long-standing partnership with the WNC Orchid Society has allowed us to grow the festival over the past 18 years and to provide visitors with the most sought-after, unique orchid displays,” says George Briggs, executive director of the North Carolina Arboretum.  “This year’s collaboration with the American Orchid Society will make one of our most popular weekends a true must-see event.”

World-class and regional orchid growers will exhibit hundreds of orchids, and orchids will be sold by 13 vendors. AOS judges will rate the orchids and their accompanying displays, and the WNC Orchid Society will award ribbons in over 100 classes of orchids. In addition to the exhibit and sale, a wide range of experts are scheduled to present at the event, including a daily repotting clinic, guided tours and a variety of lectures.

In conjunction with the festival, the public can also register to attend parts of the AOS spring meeting that is taking place at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park.

“This unique opportunity provides our Society the ability to bring international orchid growers to the festival and raise the level of knowledge, education and enjoyment of all things orchid to our members,” notes Brett Hopkins, president of WNCOS. “It is an honor to host the AOS spring meeting in coordination with our festival, and we are excited to partner with the arboretum again to host this wonderful festival.”

Festival admission is $5 (which goes directly to support WNC Orchic Society); children under 13 get in free. Festival attendees who are not Arboretum Society members will need to pay the arboretum’s standard $12 parking fee. For more information visit


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3 thoughts on “Farm & Garden: Asheville Orchid Festival will draw thousands

  1. Richard

    Though it seems that the Festival is open to the public on the dates and times stated in Ms. Griffin’s article, her sentence that “parts of the AOS Spring meeting are open to the public…” confused me a bit.
    Would someone please clarify that, indeed, it is open to all on all three days?
    Thank you.

    • Abigail Griffin

      In addition to the exhibit and sale (which is open to the public for all three days at the N.C. Arboretum), the American Orchid Society spring meeting is taking place at the Asheville Hilton Biltmore Park. Only some of the AOS spring meeting events are open to the public; whereas, the exhibition at the Arboretum is open to the public all weekend. You can find out details regarding the exhibition and the AOS meetings at

      I am editing my article to clarify this. Thank you for bringing the confusion to my attention!

  2. Richard

    I may be the only person in BC who had this question, quite likely. Thank you for your response. Richard

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