On Saturday, September 3rd, Fitz’s Fish Ponds hosted one of the largest events in the industry– the first annual Koi Fest! Koi Fest was designed to provide a day where koi hobbyists could receive the best prices and deals on koi at the end of the season while also enjoying some great prizes and giveaways, live entertainment, food trucks and vendors. The event was a huge success and FFP plans to continue it annually!
Throughout the day approximately 800 people attended the event. The FFP team of 30+ people were all on hands on deck preparing for the event and helping the event run smoothly. The biggest task was setting up the tanks and bowls and moving all of the fish from our greenhouses beneath the fish tent. The weather shifted to having some very cool nights on the farm, therefore all of the prep work of moving the fish had to occur the morning of the event. A group of us began this process around 5am and by the time the event began at 10am, we were ready. Throughout the day, team members were working various stands, checking in customers, and most importantly catching and bagging koi for customers. It was a true team effort all around.
Underneath the fish tent were approximately 20 large bowls of different varieties of Japanese Imported Koi of various ages and sizes. Koi from many breeders including Shintaro, Hiroi, Yamasan, Aokiya, Kase, Marusei, Ikarashi, Otsuka and many more were available on display and on sale. Plants were also for sale at a discounted price. Additionally, vendor tables were set up throughout the event as well, some of these featured a FFP Retail and Merchandise Pop Up Shop, a Pond Pros and Landscape & Construction Table as well as an Evolution Aqua Pop Up Shop. The Mid-Atlantic Koi Club and the Tri-State ZNA Koi Club were invited and held tables at the event. Additional vendors such as Tall Man Woodworking, Oink and Moo Food Truck and Blue Bunny Ice Cream Truck provided additional entertainment for guests. Live music was provided by Kyle Mita and Judd even had our outdoor pizza oven fired up and served guests fresh pizza so they could get a taste of what it might be like to have an outdoor kitchen of their own!
In addition, FFP was fortunate enough to host some very special guests for the event as well: Tim Waddington of Quality Nishikigoi and Masaru Saito of Shintaro Koi Farm. The week prior to Koi Fest, Fitz was in the UK with Tim and Saito at the Great British Koi Show and they flew back with him to attend Koi Fest to not only help with the event but to also meet and greet some customers and koi hobbyists from the U.S who have become fans of theirs as well. Tim, Saito and Fitz provided Koi Talks, where they discussed the different trips they make to Japan and can offer to interested hobbyists. They discussed the Spring buying trip, where we get premier access to some of the best quality Tosai, and the Fall harvest trip where we help the breeders extract the koi from the mud ponds, and the Japan Koi show trip. It was great having them around the farm for the event and we truly appreciate their help!
Some of the highlights of the day were the incredible giveaways that were won. Not only did people win some amazing Japanese Imported Koi, Fitz also gave away a free trip to Japan! Mark Leneski was the lucky winner and we are excited to have him join us on the next trip! We also held two separate Koi Auctions in which hobbyists could bid on particular koi. This was a fun and thrilling experience and it was enjoyed by all!
Over 600 koi were sold during Koi Fest! FFP plans to continue Koi Fest annually and hopefully expand to an even wider audience of koi hobbyists so more can come and enjoy the day! Be sure to follow us @fitzfishponds and join our mailing list to find out more about upcoming events! We hope to see you at Koi Fest 2023!