March 20 — Celebrate a piece of Japanese culture at the 36th annual Zen Nippon Airinkai Southern California Chapter Koi Show, to be held this weekend at the Ken Nakaoka Memorial Community Center, 1700 W. 162nd St., Gardena. The show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
Bred for hundreds of years in Japan, koi are considered to be living jewels. Revered for their beauty, grace, and size (over a meter in length) and can be worth tens of thousands of dollars each. The koi show will display over 300 of the most spectacular show quality koi in the country. In addition to these magnificent animals, vendor booths will be open for the public for koi education and sales, garden landscaping information, pond and filter design, food and refreshments, and general equipment needed for the koi hobby.
People interested in building a koi pond or water garden and koi husbandry will be especially interested in attending the fair. There will be specialists presenting lectures on pond design, water gardens, filter systems and koi health. If you’ve ever dreamed of having that special garden hideaway, with beautiful fish and the tranquil sound of running water, this is a must-attend event.
At noon on Sunday, there will be a special auction where bidders can purchase a koi for a fraction of its retail value. Following the auction there will be a raffle, where lucky ticket holders will win exciting prizes. All events are open to the public free of charge. As a special treat, the weekend will also feature a baby koi sale, starting at only five dollars each. This is a great time to get those new fish for your pond or aquarium.
In addition to the koi show, the event will host many Japanese cultural activities. On Saturday morning, there will be entertainment by taiko drummers and an ensemble of Japanese singers and dancers. During both days the public may participate and learn from experts about Japanese doll making, watercolor painting and many other Japanese arts.
ZNA Southern California Chapter has more than 300 members and is the largest and oldest ZNA chapter in the United States. Club meetings are usually held on the third Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at a member’s home, where attendees can view ponds and koi, ask questions of experienced members, and enjoy the fellowship of other koi keepers.
For more information, call Don Kobashigawa, chapter president, at (818) 207-3238 or e-mail [email protected]; or vice president Alan Stein at (818) 709-3581, or the Gardena Recreation and Human Services Department at (310) 217-9537.