The concept of running an Orchid Fair is not new. These have been conducted successfully for many years, all around the world. Generally Fairs have been hosted by one nursery and visiting vendors have been invited.
In 1998 a group of friends, who happened to be commercial orchid growers, discussed the possibility of running an Orchid Fair in the Sydney area. It was agreed that our main aim was to promote orchids and attract new growers to the hobby. We also agreed to conduct the Fair as a commercial exercise with a view of creating commercial opportunities in the Sydney area for all vendors. It was also agreed that we should not impact on any other established event, and so pre season and post season dates were considered. The concept was to hire a large building, invite most of the leading commercial growers from around Australia, and give growers the opportunity to meet vendors and assess their stock. In short, a one stop Orchid Shopping Centre. We set a stall fee for each vendor which was our only income. We then spent this money on Hall Hire, Equipment Hire, Insurance etc, and the balance of our income was spent on Advertising/Promotion.
CHIOF / SIOF. The first Sydney International Orchid Fair was held at the Castle Hill Showground Pavilion in April, 1999. We held our second in October 1999 and since then annually each Autumn. The SIOF has now been replaced by the Castle Hill International Orchid Fair as of 2012.
VIOF. Using the successful formula that underpinned SIOF, another committee was formed and the first Victorian International Orchid Fair was held at St. Sava’s Hall, Greensborough in May, 2004. This Fair was held annually in May each year till 2009 when it transferred to Keysborough on the south-east of Melbourne and in conjunction with OSCOV now combines the Fair and the Melbourne Orchid Spectacular.
QIOF. In 2007 yet another committee was formed and in February, 2008 the first Queensland International Orchid Fair was held at Bray Park on the north side of Brisbane. Following this success it is held in late summer/early autumn each year.