Oxfordshire County & Thame Show
Oxfordshire County & Thame Show
Following a 4.45am start, Ben Mason and I met up with Rob Hughes on the M6 (3.45am start by Rob who travelled from North Wales!) a couple of stops later and we arrived at the Thame Showground at around 8am. We were met by our host and event organiser Roger Carr who was already busy getting prepared for the hordes of visitors. Roger had kindly set aside an ideal place to locate The BS stand which took centre stage within a large marquee specifically for cage birds.
Among the several different displays that were on show within the marquee, the BS stand certainly stood out from the crowd and attracted the attention of all the visitors who came through the main entrance. Rob, Ben and I were kept really busy talking budgerigars and all about the society with the public. Many people showed a good interest in budgerigars in general and these individuals were given hand-outs and directed to the society website etc. Those people who expressed a keen interest in the society were also given a membership form (around 63 in total) along with a few people who had at one point been members of the society but had not joined for several years.
Roger treated us extremely well during the day and our thanks must go to him for providing us with several birds to use as a secondary focal tool to attract the attention of the public. Many different people spoke to us at length about the different variety of colours and mutations that we had on show with a spangle blue turning out as a firm favourite by the end of the day. Large numbers of the people we spoke to informed us that they had previously kept a budgie and indeed in some cases several budgies at various points within their lives. Others kept mainly pet budgies within an aviary as a garden feature and we felt these individuals were a really good target audience for us on the day. We also received many questions from people seeking advice on the management and breeding of budgerigars, having a really enthusiastic team of three present enabled lengthy personalised advice to be given which I feel further promoted the society in a positive light. We were all confident that we may see some of these people joining within the coming months; we even had one gentleman from America who keeps budgerigars and showed interest in becoming an overseas member once he returns home!
We also spoke with several fanciers from other branches of the bird keeping hobby whom impressed upon us how professional the stand looked as well as our appearance in BS branded clothing etc. Positive relationships were gained with several organisations which we felt can only be good for the reputation of the society.
Given the nature of the event and taking into account that many of the visitors had no prior experience within aviculture I feel that the society was very well received. It certainly facilitated the outward promotion of the BS brand to the wider general public, many of which, prior to Saturday had no idea that the hobby or our society even existed! I am very hopeful that we will start to see a positive return from this event over the coming weeks and months.