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Fall is just around the corner and you know what that means? It’s festival season! And the SCKWGS fall festival is all about koi and goldfish. The South Carolina Koi and Water Garden Society is holding its Twelfth Annual Koi and Goldfish Show at the Simpsonville Activity and Senior Center (310 West Curtis) the first weekend in October and everyone is invited. There is no admission charge and parking is free. The hours of the event are:

Friday, October 4th 2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Saturday, October 5th 9:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M.
Sunday, October 6th 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

There will be koi and goldfish for sale, along with all kinds of pond supplies and equipment and koi food for koi hobbyists, but there will also be vendors offering items for non-koi people as well, such as jewelry, original art work, beautiful carnivorous plants (such as pitcher plants and the venus fly catcher), metal sculpture, yard and garden art, and accessories. There will also be T-shirts and a beautiful commemorative pin for sale at the Club table just inside the front door.

For those who don’t know, koi are Japanese colored carp and many people in our area keep them as pets in backyard ponds. And some of those koi keepers actually like to enter their fish in competitions such as this as they vie for top honors with other koi hobbyists from not only South Carolina, but North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee as well. The fish are judged (by official, certified outside judges) and trophies are awarded in a variety of categories. The koi to be judged are on exhibit in large blue tanks in the center of the gymnasium so visitors can walk by and get a good look at them. Children love to watch these multi-colored beauties swim around in their tanks and often marvel at the size, as some of them can measure as much as 36 inches or more. And then there are the goldfish in a variety of colors and configuration (long fins, short fins, fat faces, bubble eyes) in twenty-gallon aquariums so visitors can get up close and personal. Fish are indeed fascinating creatures and this event gives everyone the opportunity to see these beautiful living jewels in all their colorful glory. Now that’s just not an everyday-occurrence for most folks, so this event will provide a unique and enjoyable weekend outing for the whole family. And it’s all FREE!!

Vendors will start setting up their booths on Friday morning and the show officially opens to the public at 2:00 P.M. Like raffles? Drawings will be held throughout the day on Saturday. There will also be a silent auction going on throughout Friday and Saturday with final bids being determined at the awards banquet on Saturday night. You do not have to be present at the banquet to win. If the winning bidder is not at the banquet, they will be notified by phone on Sunday morning and must pick up their items on Sunday before the show closes at 1:00 P.M.

Wait, there’s more! There will also be free face painting for the kids. Want a colorful fish on your face just for fun? How about a princess of a ninja or a pirate? Pick out a design from the face painter’s selection and settle in while she adds a one-of-a-kind souvenir as a reminder of this delightful event.
All fish entered for judging are to be registered on Friday and the judges start their work on Saturday morning. Trophies are presented at an awards banquet on Saturday night (held at the same site). If you are a koi hobbyist and have fish you would like to enter in the show, you can go to www.sckwgs.org (2019 Koi Show) to print out an exhibitor package which contains all the information and details you need to participate. Or, if you have fish in your pond but can’t (or don’t want to) catch them and transport them to the show, but still want to participate, there’s another way to do that. Visit the booths of our koi and goldfish vendors, purchase the fish you like, and enter it in the show. Then you can take it home after the show closes on Sunday and add it to your pond. For additional information, you can call show co-chairmen Gene Koch (864-616-5052), Mel Barutha (864-316-2856) or Phil Rose (615-218-4229).

Hundreds of visitors from upstate communities and surrounding states attend this event every year and many of them don’t have a pond or own a single fish. But, whether they come to show their fish, to see the prize-winning fish, to look for a fish to buy, to do some holiday shopping, to just see what it’s all about, or just enjoy the fall festival atmosphere (or all of the above), it’s a great way to spend a fall day in the upstate.

If you are a regular attendee at this event every year, we look forward to seeing you again in October. Never been to a koi show? Well, opportunity is knockin’ loud and clear. The entire event is held inside, so you don’t have to worry about the weather. And you can’t beat the price as both admission and parking are free.

There is a lot going on this time of year, but this might just be one of the most unique and enjoyable experiences of them all. Mark your calendar now and plan to try something new this year. You’ll be glad you did!

by Kay Barutha♦

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