4 Cool Reasons to Get Excited About Orchids & Onions 2020

As SDAF’s flagship gala of the year approaches on October 1, we can’t help but feel a tad bit stoked about it. After all, Orchids & Onions 2020 is a San Diego tradition 44 years in the making, and we have yet to meet an O&O we didn’t like. Even with all of the epic moments of Orchids & Onions past — Chippendale dancers, memorable upsets, San Diego luminaries (we’re looking at you, Todd Gloria) — this year’s gala holds a special place in O&O history. That’s because it’s our first all-virtual event, of course. And the first time it’s been free for SDAF members.

But there’s a lot more than that to make Orchids & Onions 2020 one of our most legendary.  Here are 4 things to love about this year’s gala.

Teen Jury. This is definitely the year of “O&O firsts,” and the teen jury, called “Teen Vote” is right up there with the best of them. Orchids & Onions always has given the public a chance to have a voice in shaping San Diego’s built environment. At long last, Teen Vote gives local youth a say in it as well. In collaboration with A Reason to Survive (ARTS), we assembled a teen jury and asked them to cast their votes on the very same shortlist our main jury deliberated on. To find out if the teen jury and main jury saw eye to eye, register for the virtual gala on Oct. 1 at!

Making a Difference. Over the summer, SDAF expressed a desire to do more to promote racial equity. Backing our commitment with action, we are collaborating with the San Diego Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SDNOMA) to create a new scholarship for a minority student interested in pursuing an architectural career. You can support the effort, too! It’s as easy as attending this year’s Orchids & Onions gala and participating in our fundraising drive that night. Every donation will help bring about more racial equity in a profession that really needs it. Read more.

People’s Choice Voting Will Be Live. In 2020, there are five finalists for the People’s Choice Orchid and Onion — three short-listed Orchids and two short-listed Onions. Projects were shortlisted based on those receiving the most comments, likes and shares across SDAF’s social media channels and nomination pages. For the first time, attendees of the virtual awards gala will be able to vote on the final Orchid and Onion People’s Choice winners during the event on Oct. 1 By attending, you can play a part in choosing your favorite. Check out the shortlist here and get ready to vote for your top picks on Oct. 1!

A cool virtual cocktail demo. There are just two days left to order your Orchids & Onions food and drink kits, so better get on it! By purchasing your kits by the deadline, Sept. 25, not only will you be supporting small local businesses, you’ll also be opening the door to a fun time.  At 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, Snake Oil Cocktail Co. mixologist Frankie Thaheld kicks off O&O by leading us in a demo of the night’s signature cocktails.

With pre-ordered kits in hand, attendees will learn how to make two signature cocktails: an Orchid (vodka or bourbon, smashed blueberry, dried lavender, pressed lemon, cane sugar, club soda) and an Onion (vodka or bourbon, tomato water, muddled green onion, sea salt, honey, pressed lemon). Buy your kit here to be part of the fun!

There’s a lot more where this came from, too! We have other surprises in store that you won’t want to miss. Register for Orchids & Onions 2020 today! We look forward to seeing you there!

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San Diego Architectural Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education and promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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