Yesterday I visited the International Koi Show at Kelmarsh Hall near Northampton. On the Saturday I visited the British International Motor Show at the London Excel centre. Comparing both is like comparing chalk and cheese and yet both proported to be shows of international standard. What it means for a show to be titled international I don't know but in both cases they left something to be desired. The motor show seemed to lack several foreign brands of car many had expected to see like Porsche, Ferrari and even Mercedes was only represented by a couple of cars. The koi show was equally short of any foreign flavour unless you count the koi as being Japanese and Israeli, but then without them it wouldn't be a koi show! I don't wish to be too critical as I enjoyed both days but the description of them both to be the premier shows of the year and the actual experiences left me and others feeling a little flat. Maybe it's just show fatigue but perhaps a show should provide visitors more than just a shopping experience.
The Koi show was supported by many other events and activities and with the sunny weather made it feel like a village fete. I particularly liked the model planes that struggled on flying even with increasing winds. Some of these were more popular than the koi to the average visitor who probably didn't understand what all the fuss was about with these fish. A koi show should be the perfect opportunity to introduce new people to the hobby but seldom are there any welcome talks or information available, just koi in vats and lots of complicated equipment.
The winning Grand Champion koi was a rather nice showa but this wasn't clear from the boards which could have done with rosettes. Due to the warm weather the vats were very well aerated and the koi were very active which made photographing them hard (well that's my excuse).
Obviously the organizers and koi owners had worked hard behind the scenes to run the show but the lack of any official koi club and the community that brings with it meant numbers of serious koi keepers were down. This could be seen as the most popular stand belonged to a dealer selling small, reasonably priced Israeli koi. I have heard dealers complain that they don't make any money from shows but this is the same in most industries. This is your opportunity to show your face and promote your company as well as encourage more to join the hobby.
Even though this wasn't the best koi show I do hope it returns better next year and stays with a great venue in Kelmarsh Hall. I had a nice day out and any chance to see top koi is worth doing.