by Katie Hendrick | September 30, 2016
Orange Blossom Revue Celebrates Florida Food, Music and Style
With its abundance of live oaks and palmetto trees, Lake Wales Park exudes sleepy, Old Florida allure. But come December, it will pulse with excitement when the state’s greatest barbecue teams, regional musicians and bespoke tastemakers assemble for Orange Blossom Revue.
This sophisticated soiree, named in honor of the town’s citrus heritage, grew out of a longtime barbecue fundraiser hosted by the local Rotary Club.
“I so admired those old-timers,” says Rusty Ingley, a co-founder of Orange Blossom Revue. “I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.” But when his turn came, he discovered he had “romanticized working over hot coals all day.”
Ingley suggested outsourcing barbecue duties to professionals. After all, some of the country’s best pit masters—including Swamp Boys, Sweet Smoke Q, Smokin’ Slimz and Hot Wauchula’s—operated right there in his home county.
“Why not host a contest?” he mused. His fellow Rotarians agreed: competitive ‘cuers would enhance the prestige and fun of their event. They lined up nearly three-dozen teams vying for a $3,000 grand prize and points to qualify for the Florida Barbecue Association Championship.
Ingley and company didn’t stop there. They envisioned a celebration that could lure visitors from the Panhandle to the Keys. They sought out trailblazing Florida musicians for entertainment and distinguished Florida artists and designers to sell in a high-end marketplace.
Now in its third year, Orange Blossom Revue, December 2-3, is a festival “unlike any others in Florida,” Ingley says of its distinct combination of small town charm, world-class barbecue, powerhouse performers and refined products.
“People act like anything important in music happens in Nashville or Los Angeles, but Florida is dripping with talent,” Ingley says.
Among the can’t-miss acts lined up for this year’s Revue: The Hummingbirds, a rockabilly husband and wife duo from Tampa; Hip Abduction, an indie pop band from St. Petersburg; and Ben Prestage, a swampy-blues player from Indiantown who sings and plays the steel guitar, bass, drums, banjo, fiddle and harmonica.
“He’s 100 percent about the music and simply phenomenal,” Ingley says.
In the marketplace, situated under large tents illuminated with café lights, guests can pick up bespoke gifts with a Florida backstory.
Past participants have included Tampa conservation photographer Carlton Ward Jr., Lake Wales oil painter Blair Updike; Rifle Paper, a Winter Park-based stationer now stocked in Anthropologie; Hayden Reis, a Sarasota company specializing in sailcloth totes and wristlets; and Board and Batten, a natural skincare line of Lake County.
Organizers are accepting vendor applications until October 15. To apply, visit orangeblossomrevue.com/tastemaker
Proceeds from the weekend help fund grants to develop community parks and recreation projects in Lake Wales. For the complete lineup, visit, orangeblossomrevue.com.