Stoneleigh Pet Show report

Stoneleigh Pet Show – 20-21 July 2013

Following yet another early start (that was mirrored on the Sunday), Ben mason and I met up with Rob Hughes on route to The Pet Show.  With great anticipation we travelled down the M6 motorway to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. 

We had been allocated a good central position within our hall and we anticipated that we would be kept busy for the weekend due primarily to our position.  Amongst the many traders, stalls and other exhibitors, once again the BS stand stood out and was very eye catching even in this busy environment.   Our previous anticipation proved to be correct and indeed it was a wonderful experience with the show itself being a perfect opportunity to promote the budgerigar society.  With approximately 25,000 people attending the event we were certainly kept extremely busy across the weekend.  Undeniably much of this was due to how attractive and attention grabbing the BS stand is. 

Adding to our prominent position and the attraction of the stand we also had with us several budgerigars across the weekend for display purposes and this certainly drew the attention of many individuals.  Adding to this and in the previous weeks, Ben and I have been slowly taming some young budgerigars as a further tool in connecting with the general public.  At one point on the Sunday we literally had people pressed 5 deep in front of our stand so that they could stroke and hold a young recessive pied that Ben has trained to stay on his finger.  This bird, named Sam by one of the young children who held him on his finger, must surely be the most famous budgerigar in the country at present having been passed amongst the crowds who queued up to pet him. Word soon spread around the hall and people said to us that they had heard word spreading that they could hold a budgie and so made a point of coming to us to have hands on experience. 
This gave us the ideal opportunity to talk budgies.  We offered advice on keeping a pet bird, health, nutrition, breeding and exhibiting to a vast amount of people. At times members of the general public stood in line while we spoke to other individuals so that they could seek us out and ask us questions about these wonderful birds we all love. 
Children eagerly awaited their turn to hold one of the birds, notably a young girl of 3 was enthralled and had Sam walking on her hand, around her pushchair and even falling asleep while she stroked him. There must be hundreds of upset children walking around the midlands this week as virtually all of these children could be heard saying to their parents, I want some budgies as they walked away from our stand. 

If we had received £1 for every person who said to us that as a child they had owned a budgie, or their parents did or even bred them, we would have been able to fund the club show for several years to come.  The overriding point here is that many of these individuals also said that they did not know that budgies still existed as a hobby or as an option for a pet bird and many of those who kept budgerigars as either a pet or within an aviary in the garden did not know that the society existed. The vast majority of these people went away with a good understanding of the society and the hobby at large.  Most people took a copy of the new society information leaflet, a calendar and a membership form, many of whom said they would be looking to join in the near future.  A few individuals even completed the membership form with us with a view to sending the form back with a cheque once they returned home.   At one point I was completing a membership form with one lady and Ben started to complete another, a double whammy! Sadly one of the individuals had not brought her bank card with her, but the other one signed up on the day.  We have a new Junior member to the society, welcome Lilly!

During the course of the weekend many contacts were made who were interested in advertising and developing a future relationship with the Budgerigar Society.  Most notably perhaps, with a gentleman who was extremely interested in budgerigars but had previously not know about the society or budgerigars other than as a single pet bird within the home! The man in question is an author for several pet orientated magazines and after some deep discussion with Ben, and encouraged on by Sam the budgie, he asked if we would be willing to collaborate on several projects that he currently has underway including a final chapter of a pet book he has been commissioned to write.  We hope to offer him as much assistance and information as he needs on this final chapter which he has assured us will now be on budgerigars and the society!!

Overall we all felt that this event was a huge success for the society, the awareness of the BS brand and the hobby itself is starting to increase dramatically.  We are completely confident that events such as this help us to plant the seeds of outward promotion that hopefully in time will just keep on growing!!

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