“Wow! is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this year’s Morongo Basin Orchid Festival,” proclaimed Debbie Gubler, President of the Yucca Valley Sunset Rotary. “We have so many wonderful firsts for the 17th anniversary of this annual fundraising event. This year we have an exclusive website dedicated to the Festival, www.TheOrchidFestival.org , we have the first carnival in Landers’ history, and we have revamped the festival grounds to better showcase the non-profit organizations that we are helping and increase the space for new food vendors and the carnival rides,” Gubler explained.
The two-day festival, held this year on October 6th and 7th from 10 am to 5 pm both days at Gubler Orchids (2200 Belfield Blvd. in Landers), is expected to break all previously-set attendee and fundraising records. As a special gift to the families of the many communities the festival sponsors serve, voucher tickets will be distributed for free carnival rides for children from 9-11 am Saturday. More information on this will be forthcoming and is also available on the festival’s website.
In addition to the wonderful orchids, superb food, lively entertainment, fun wine & cheese tasting, carnival rides, a petting zoo, one of a kind pottery, and unique art and jewelry vendors, the festival has become a showcase for participating non-profit organizations. “While enjoying all that the Festival has to offer, festival goers can browse the non-profit booths and learn about this area’s amazing non-profits and the programs that they provide,” festival founder and Sunset Rotary member, Chris Gubler, explained. “This year, all the non-profits reserved their spaces so far in advance that we ran out of spaces in June.” “You can even legally adopt a Desert Tortoise at the festival this year.” Gubler added.
Complimentary orchid tours are conducted every 15 minutes. For a nominal charge, attendees may register for one of six orchid classes are held during the weekend where participants keep a blooming orchid upon graduation. A free children’s class I held Saturday morning. Attendees are urged to bring their cameras and take as many photos as their heart desires. On Saturday, third generation orchid grower, Chris Gubler, will be conducting an “inside the orchid business tour.” This is a paid tour and limited to the first 20 people. Proceeds from all orchid sales, less sales tax, are donated to the Festival and included in its charitable proceeds.
Trader Joes once again is supporting the ever popular Wine and Cheese tasting. There will be a great selection of wine & cheese for tasting. Enjoy your favorite selection after the tasting in a commemorative wine glass as you find a seat to enjoy the music and food.
Bighorn Desert View Water Agency is sponsoring the live Jazz Music for this year’s festival. Live jazz ensembles throughout the weekend are led by Professor Daniel Murphy of the University of Redlands Faculty and All Star Jazz Musicians. They will be
playing a wide variety of Jazz from cool blues to up-tempo swing. There will be plenty of seating and lots of shade.
The Yucca Valley Sunset Rotary Club came up with the idea of using “Rotary Bucks” as a way to have the public determine how the Rotary Club should distribute the $10,000 plus profit it raises at the Festival each year to the participating Non-profits. Rotary Bucks is a voting system to include festival goers in the all-important distribution of festival proceeds. Each person that attends the Orchid Festival is given a “Rotary Buck” when they enter the fairgrounds, and they also can earn more Rotary Bucks as they make purchases at the event. Festival goers then give their “Rotary Bucks” to the charities of their choice. After the festival dust clears, the Sunset Rotary then gives each charity at least $1 for each Rotary Buck the charity received from festival goers.
Organizations that garner more rotary bucks get a larger percentage of the total proceeds of the festival. Each organization also always welcomes direct cash donations in addition to their Rotary Bucks donations.
Fifteen well-deserving Morongo Basin charities will be showcased at the festival this year. They include American Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Desert, Friends of the Yucca Valley Library, Hearts of Yucca Valley, Hi-Desert Cultural Center, Hospice of Morongo Basin, Joshua Tree Sportsman’s Club “Sportettes”, Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue, Morongo Basin Community Emergency Response Team, Morongo Basin Coalition for Adult Literacy, Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, Morongo Basin
Historical Society, The Orchid Society of Arizona, Unity Home, and Yucca Valley Soroptimists. These fine organizations will be on hand to explain what they do and who they serve.
Morongo Basin radio stations sponsoring the festival are KRSX 105.3, Country KX 92.1/96.3, and KQ 95.5 fm. A special “thank you” also goes to those sponsors who have supported this event in each of its seventeen years: Gubler Orchids, Hi-Desert
Star, and Desert Trail.
For directions call (800) GUBLERS or visit www.theorchidfestival.org for all the information on the Orchid Festival.