Image courtesy of InSitu Ecosystems, collaborator in our terrarium contest!

Introducing: The Official ECO Terrarium Contest & Holiday Bazaar

December 8-10, 9-5pm. Free to attend for all ages. Read on to find out more about our new event!

  • Terrarium Contest (Dec 8-10)

    Come check out terrariums constructed by competition participants and vote for your favorite! Along with visitor votes, terrariums will be judged by a three-person panel of qualified terrarium aficionados, each of them respected voices in the terrarium community. 

    Prizes include:

    Best in Show Award: $500

    People's Choice Award: $250

    Honorable mentions: store credit and free terrarium equipment!

  • Holiday Bazaar (Dec 8-10)

    Shop local growers and artisans to find a perfect holiday gift! We'll have a cute selection of boutique-style shops in our greenhouse for you to browse. Vendors will be added here as they join.

    Tzakis Naturals LLC - (Houseplants, Rare plants, Cacti)

    AnnaLisa Gosar’s Art Studio LLC - (Christmas cards, prints, mugs, tote bags, and art prints, based in Spanaway WA!)

    Dew Violets - (African Violets and small indoor plants)

    RoseBees - (Anthuriums/Anthurium Hybrids, Philodendrons, specialty plants, painted magnets and plant-themed tufted rugs, based in Tacoma!)

Want to enter the contest?

Contestant FAQ

Entry Fee/What's included?

Entry as a contestant for the Terrarium Competition is $40. Entry fee is non-refundable, limit one terrarium entry per person. The contest is free for visitors to attend.

Best in Show award is $500

People’s Choice award is $250

Awards for honorable mentions include store credit and free terrarium equipment!

We will provide a shelf space in the competition area with access to one standard electrical outlet, one surge-protector power strip and access to Tacoma municipal tap water.

Setup time/Setup Requirements

Set up hours are Thursday, December 7 from 9am to 5pm.

All terrariums must be completed, functional (all components working), and ready for judging by 5pm Thursday.

Work space will be shared by all contestants and may therefore limited to a few square feet of table space and the adjacent floor area. 

Multiple people may help initially load in heavy terrariums and components, but only one person may remain to construct or assemble any given terrarium. 

Terrariums may be 100% pre-assembled plug n play units or built entirely from scratch, as long as it is done by one person occupying a neighborly amount of workspace and within the allotted time. 

Terrarium Display Hours

The competition display hours are Friday to Sunday (Dec 8-10) from 9am to 5pm.

General Contest Rules

Terrariums entered may not be smaller than approximately 2 gallons or larger than approximately 45 gallons. Excessively wide, tall or odd shaped terrariums may be denied entry on the basis of space or display limitations. 

Terrariums must contain a minimum of one (1) plant.

Terrarium appropriate animals are permitted.

Part of the competition is sustainability. Contestants are not permitted to touch their terrariums between end of setup and show ending. If a contestant needs to adjust, fix, or modify their terrarium in any way, or an obvious structural failure occurs, points could be deducted from their score in any relevant scoring categories.

Winner of the Best in Show isn’t official until Sunday at 5 pm, when the judges will submit any scoring penalties, which must be also be unanimous in decision.

Contestants may not have signage in their terrariums. Judging will be anonymous, but after judging is completed, we will place a sign by each terrarium with the contestant name and any emails, @s, or websites you want published. 

Judging/Scoring Rubric

Terrariums will be primarily judged some time between the hours of 5 pm Thursday (Dec 7) and 10 am Friday (Dec 8). A final judging will occur 5 pm Sunday (Dec 10). 

Judging will be conducted by a three person panel of qualified terrarium aficionados, each of them respected voices in the terrarium community. 

Winner (predicted) of the Best in Show and other honorable mentions will be announced Friday (Dec 8) at 11 am in the nursery holiday event area and on social media.

Scoring will be on a 1-5 point or 1-10 point scale for a variety of categories that might include overall aesthetic composition, quality of plant material, bio sustainability, lighting, innovative use of equipment, hardscaping, plantscaping, water control, non plant accents (animals, decor, other embellishments), etc. Some categories will be more heavily weighted than others. Highest total score wins Best in Show. 

Contestants will be provided with their judges score cards and any notes the judges may write. 

People's Choice Award

People’s Choice Award will be a tallied hand written ballot system, one ballot issued to every person from the general public attending the weekend event. Voting will end at noon on Sunday (Dec 10). The winner will be announced at 1 pm Sunday in the nursery holiday event area and on social media. 


Please fill out this form if you have read and agree to all of the rules above:

Alternatively, you may also email with subject "terrarium contest inquiry". We will get back to you shortly with either form of inquiry.

Interested in vending at our event?

Vendor FAQ

Vendor Fee/What's included?

Vendor fee is $90. The event is free to attend for all customers!

We will provide two folding tables, one 6' and another shorter table in an "L" formation, black table cloth, and two chairs.

Electricity is available without extra charge on a limited basis (please make electrical inquiries early).

What time is the event setup?

Set up hours are 9am to 5pm on Thursday, December 7th.

Sales to the general public are not permitted on set up day.

ECO Staff will be available to help vendors locate their vending space and find amenities, such as electricity, vendor break area, bathrooms, etc.

Vendors are responsible for all loading and unloading of their goods and sales equipment. Some pathways here are narrow, please keep that in mind when packing. We have a very limited number of carts we can lend for loading, but recommend you bring one if you need it.

If you are vending large items and need us to load in through our cargo door, let us know in advance.

When do vending hours take place?

Vending hours are Friday to Sunday (Dec 8-10) from 9am to 5pm.

The building will be accessible to vendors early, 7:30 am on Friday and 8:30 am on Saturday/Sunday.

Vendors will conduct their own transactions and are responsible for all collection of funds and payment of applicable sales taxes for their transactions.

Wi-Fi here is unreliable. If your sales system requires Wi-Fi for card/app transactions, we recommend you bring a mobile device that can access the net using cellular data or a mobile hotspot.

This is a family friendly event!

We reserve the right to prohibit the sale and/or display of any merchandize that depicts drug or alcohol consumption, smoking, pornography, graphic violence, hate speech/symbols, or any other content inappropriate for young children.

Lost/Stolen Merchandise

Emerald City Orchids is not responsible for any lost or stolen merchandise, cash, or valuables.

Exterior doors to the building will be locked at 5:15 pm. Our facility has internal video monitoring and we will have a person on-site over night to keep watch.

Live Animals?

Vendors are not permitted to have live animals on the premises, including all pets, during load in, load out, or event vending hours. Animals contained in a secure tank, cage, or display case are ok, but they may not leave their enclosures. 

Business Legal Compliance

Vendors are responsible for being in compliance with all laws of the State of Washington and the City of Tacoma including, but not limited to, business permits, taxes and licensing.

No Hate Speech

This is a communal endeavor, where people of every sexual orientation, race, or creed are welcome.

Hate speech will not be tolerated. Nor will humbuggery. ECO reserves the right to eject any vendor for causing strife or disruption during this festive event.

Persons ejected for these reasons, failure to comply with vending rules or ECO staff instructions, or any other aggressive behaviors will not be refunded their vendor fee. 


Fill out this form if you have read and agree to the rules above:

Alternatively, you may also email with subject "holiday bazaar inquiry". We will get back to you shortly with either form of inquiry.

Vending/Terrarium Contest Inquiry