Way back in a pub in Hambleton on the edge of Rutland Water a plan was hatched to start an event that would eventually take the birding world by storm. That event was the Birdfair, now in its 29th year!
The Birdfair has three main aims, one to be the shop window for products used by birders, two a great weekend for the birding community to meet old and make new friends and thirdly to support a global conservation project.
Businesses from all over the world now exhibit at the fair which takes place each August at the famous Nature reserve at Rutland water. In 2016 eighty different countries were represented promoting their wildlife safaris, tours, etc, making the fair one if not the most important event for the eco-tourism sector. In total Birdfair has 400 Exhibitors.
New products are launched whether it be new optical equipment, new books , new clothing , with almost 25,000 visitors it’s not surprising companies wait for Birdfair to reach their target audience. There are now eight massive trade marquees along with special optic areas and a wonderful art marquee packed full of the most amazing art work.
Visitors love the range of events laid on by Birdfair. A huge Event Marquee hosts a range of attractions from debates, films, talks by TV celebrities, and our own version of well-known game shows, such as A Question of Stork, Bird Brain of Britain and Birdless Pointbrain !!
New books are almost always published round the fair time and so the Authors Forum provides a venue for the publishers and authors to discuss their books and then with gentle persuasion sell the books along with the authors signature !
Each year the Rutland Birdfair receives hundreds of request by speakers to give a twenty minute talk on all aspects of wildlife, so it’s not surprising we now have four lecture marquees running simultaneously. In 2016 almost 16,000 visitors listened to one or more of these incredible lectures.
Many famous names including Sir David Attenborough, Bill Oddie, Chris Packham, Simon King, Nick Baker, Nigel Marvin, Mike Dilger, Pete Dunne have given their weekends up to support the fair.
£350,000 has been presented by Birdfair to BirdLife International to help fund conservation work in Madagascar and Africa.
Perhaps in the Conservation world Birdfair is best known for the funding it gives to Birdlife International. Each year a project of global importance is selected and Birdfair focusses its awareness, fund raising around the specific project. Over the years Birdfair has given away a staggering 4.2 million pounds. In recent years the annual cheque presentation has seen more than £300,000 donated to Birdlife International. From 2016 Birdfair will now donate a £100,000 towards training young conservationist through the Leadership Programme. We are delighted to focus some of our funds on these young folks as they will be the future for conserving the world of birds and wildlife that we all love. Together we really can make a difference and hopefully many of you reading this blog will wing your way to Rutland in August 2017 .
Birdfair 2017 Dates
The Birdfair 2017 dates are 18th, 19th and 20th of August.
Visit www.birdfair.org.uk for more information.
Blue Sky Wildlife Team