Koi of every size and color will grace Main City Park on Saturday, July 9, from 10 am to 4 pm as the Northwest Koi and Goldfish Club (NWKGC) holds its Koi Expo.


The Northwest Koi and Goldfish Club (NWKGC) was founded in 1979. The majority of its 70 members reside in the Portland/Vancouver area., but there are members all over the US. Check out their website at NWKG.org.

The mission of the club is to promote, create, and enlarge the hobby of keeping, breeding, appreciating, and exhibiting koi and goldfish. (Most members these days raise koi.) They pass along information through education and social activities and participate in community events. They have monthly meetings, conventions, and koi shows. Many members of the koi club are very garden oriented.

Because of Covid, this is their first event in several years. It will be an expo, not officially a show, which would include judging of the fish. Usually, the show is at the end of July and held at Uwajimaya in Beaverton. A Koi Show is similar in many respects to a dog show! Breeders even feed their fish color-enhancing food, then a white enhancing food, then the fish fast for several days prior to the show.

Koi keeping is very popular in Asia, Europe, and Australia (which developed its own breeding program, since they don’t import any fish). Many koi are imported into the US from Japan and sold through brokers. Bill says it’s illegal to own and import koi in Maine because they are considered an invasive species.


On July 9, you can learn about these intriguing fish by attending seminars, presentations, childrens’ area, and an auction.

During the expo, graduate students from the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center will staff a booth and talk about their research on koi herpes virus, which is deadly to the fish. There may also be a booth staffed by KOI (Koi Organisation International).


At 10 am, Brady Layman will speak on Koi Identification and Appreciation. At this seminar, which is geared toward backyard enthusiasts, you will learn about quality, body confirmation, patterns, and what makes one koi different from another. Brady will talk about the fish’s body and skin quality. You can also go to the NWKG.org. for some beautiful photographs that show the incredible variety.

At 11 am, stroll over to Tsuru Island and learn about The Art of Ikebana from Nana Bellerud, the Garden’s Ikebana instructor. This art form, which has been practiced in Japan for hundreds of years can transform even simple flowers you grow or buy at the farmer’s market into colorful decoration for your home.

At noon, you can watch Mark Vossbrink, another garden instructor, talk about The Art of Bonsai, another art form common in Japan.

From 12-2pm, In the children’s area at the Coho Pavilion, Eileen Holzman, GJG’s origami instructor, will teach how to fold fish. The NWKGC will also have a Paper Fish Pond, where kids can catch a paper fish, learn about fish, and get a prize to keep.

At 1 pm: Water Quality for Koi, a crucial element for keeping koi happy and healthy, will be covered by Monty McQuade, President of Washington Koi and Water Garden Society. Learn how to optimize water quality for koi by monitoring and adjusting ph levels and biospheres, using filters.

From 2 to 4 pm, there will be a koi auction, the main fundraiser for the NWKGC. Members donate koi and koi related items, such as pumps, nets, and filters. Also for sale will be koi-related art and garden-related items, including plants. The auction is being promoted through koi clubs in the area. The fish will be good quality but maybe not show quality, the difference being that show quality koi have better confirmation and patterns. Koi will sell from around $25 to a few hundred dollars.


“They are living and breathing art, with a different canvas every time you look at them.”

Bill Layman

Club President