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American Bonsai Blog

American Bonsai Tool & Supply Co. Blog

Our Trip to the National Bonsai Exhibition

Brad Booth

This is our second trip to the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester, NY.  This event is put on every two years by William N. Valavanis and his team, it is a fantastic bonsai experience. We shut down the shop early to catch our plane to Buffalo, NY - we're off!

What's great about this trip, from other trips, is that Cullen's parents live in Buffalo, specifically in a small town called Elma, which is about 90 minutes from Rochester.  Cullen's parents, David and Sue, are very accommodating!

The Mariacher's residence is a beautiful, peaceful property.  There is a field of clover and chicory in the back yard where the deer play!

We found David's stockpile of reclaimed wood, it wasn't hard to miss.  He is a financial advisor but has been working with his Stihl chainsaws since 1980.  We picked out a few pieces to bring back with us to build some custom bonsai stands, we call them Grandstands.

You may remember reading about this Spruce forest planting on our about us page.  It is in need of some serious work, but no time this trip, we are off to Rochester!

The scenic countryside drive to the exhibition in Rochester was beautiful.  It was full of rolling hills, very old barns, defunct properties, and animals.

We made it, now off to setup!

The big day finally came!  The ceremonial Saturday morning ribbon cutting commenced the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. 

The Ribbon Cutting at the grand opening of the Show

Unusual for Rochester, it reached a sweltering 90+ degrees inside the sports facility, however, the show must go on!!

As hot as it was, we stayed super busy and enjoyed meeting many new faces. All of the trees in the exhibit were gorgeous! Unfortunately, photography of the exhibit trees was prohibited.

The Award Banquet & Benefit Auction took place at the nearby Burgundy Basin on Saturday night. The banquet was sold out, a packed house with 450 in attendance. It was a fantastic dinner with a great group of people.

There were some great items on the auction block. Below is our very own Nick Sweat as an auctioneer ringman keeping watch over all bids on the floor!



While not at the show, we enjoyed some local food and drinks. We had some delicious buffalo wings and a Buffalo staple, Beef on Weck, at the Bar Bill Tavern. As a tradition, we tried the local taco joint on our hunt for the best taco in America. We also let off some steam by crushing a couple buckets of golf balls at the driving range - work hard, play hard, here at American Bonsai Co.. 

Our last night in New York was spent in Elma with Cullen's parents before our early departure Monday morning. For as tough as the weather is in Buffalo, it sure can be beautiful. We look forward to the next U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in 2018!