Through luck (and no small amount of conniving) I was able to stop in Chicago on the way back from a business trip for the September 21, 1996 Breeders' Circle event at the DuPage county fairgrounds. The fairgrounds were about 40 minutes west of O'Hare, in the suburbs.
I had been watching this event metamorphasize for about six months. The "Breeders Circle" is a relatively small group of senior GFSA members whose primary interest (as best I can tell) is in recreating the "Philadelphia Veiltail", a goldfish variety as notorious for its delicate health as it is famous for its beauty. These six or so hobbyists have been exchanging breeding stock, techniques, and news informally for a long time ... the breeders circle designation, I believe, was an effort to officially recognize this activity.
The fall event was originally billed as a meeting of this group, but what evolved into the DuPage event was a combination of the breeders circle getting together, a set of talks, a fish sale, vendor sales, and a board of directors' meeting. I wasn't sure quite what to expect.
What happened was that Saturday (I left before the get-together Sunday) about 7 or 8 people sold fish. Which is good, I guess, since a lot of people came to buy fish and the GFSA certainly needed its cut to pay for the facility. I was a little disappointed that the talks didn't really get off the ground (that was what I had mainly come for), but I spent a lot of time talking to people and had a generally great time.
Gary Hater (then the GFSA co-chairman) did give a slide presentation on his ponds and aquarium setups. This was very interesting ... Gary has become a big advocate of using plant filters for both his ponds and aquaria. The mode of operation is to use bog plants growing hydroponically either in the biofilters or in troughs. For the ponds, Gary felt the key thing was to use the plants to deplete the phosphates in the water. This keeps the algae in check.
Gary also discussed the breeding of butterfly-tailed telescope eyes. There seems to be some consensus that the butterfly tail is an F1 trait; that is, essentially a hybrid that does not breed true. So attempting to line breed butterfly tails as a stable trait has so far proven impossible.
It was interesting listening to some of the side discussions. Jim Reese had probably 50 orandas for sale, many of which were over five inches long. All in beautiful condition. Turns out he keeps them in a very large pond, fed gradually and continuously by a conveyor belt. I heard a lot about ryukins, both for use in strengthening the veiltail strains and that there was something of an international crisis. As best I could tell, apparently a number of ryukin strains have fallen on hard times, both for quality and health.
A big thank you should go to Peter Ponzio (then GFSA treasurer) for pulling this event together. Peter found the facility, arranged to borrow tanks and pools from the local koi club, and did all the background organizing. It was a lot of work; the future success of the GFSA depends on heroic volunteer efforts like Peter's.
I took a bunch of pictures, primarily to try and get some varietal shots for this web site. For those interested, go here.