When Tony Tickle, one of the judges, said Bill Valavanis has an energy of four men at the awards banquet, he was right to the point and drew a standing ovation. Bill was the force behind this great event. When you see him directing volunteers, from setting up the displays to measuring dimensions of bonsai for the commemorative album, he is like the bunny in Energizer battery commercials, that just keeps going on and on.
This is the first time my wife and I attended the US National Bonsai Exhibition, held in Rochester, New York, September 10-11. We were excited by the number and the high standard of bonsai displays; one could virtually shop for anything you need for bonsai from the vendors who came from all over the US and from overseas. The exhibition and vending areas occupy two football fields, 55,000 square feet! A lot of walking.
Since we cannot take photos of trees on display, here are some photos of show preparations and at vendors’ area.
You might have read the story in Facebook how Hector Pacheco Raice tried to hand carry his Neea buxifolia flying from Peurto Rico to Rochester, and had to gate check the tree upon the insistent of flight attendant; here is Hector Pacheco doing a final trimming of his Neea and putting on mosses.
A large show like this would not be possible without voluteer help, and Bill has many. David Johnson came from Canada, Joe Noga from North Carolina, Michael and Lunetta Knowlton from Florida. Alan Adair was the chief coordinator directing volunteers setting up the show, a very dedicated man. I also met Chris O’Handley, a Bonsai Nutter, after trading messages looking for each other. Chris volunteered moving trees for photographing, a very daunting task since there were many large bonsai. I met many volunteer, they are a bunch of friendly and tireless people working quietly behind the scenes.