A Brief History of the Central Florida Bonsai Club
On May 1, 1969 a group of twelve men and women, with a common interest in the Art of Bonsai, met at the home of Reuben Meirhenry in Winter Park, Florida. By July, club officers were chosen, and it was decided that those joining in the month of July, 1969 would be considered charter members. CFBC joined Bonsai Clubs International in September of 1969.
Our first Exhibit was held in conjunction with an orchid society in October of 1969 at the Orange County Agricultural Center, known as the “Cow Palace”. Since then, the exhibit has been held at Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando for many years. An especially notable exhibit during the first year included special hours for blind children.
The first visiting master was John Naka in 1971, followed by Joe Samuels and Felton Jones. In 1973, Flo Field, the newly elected president of the club, served as the first delegate to the first annual meeting of the Bonsai Societies of Florida, held at International Inn in Tampa. Eight members attended the original organization meeting in May, 1973. This new and gutsy group decided to host the BCI/ABS convention in 1975 in Miami. Our club chaired the Raffle and Auction committee.
In 1974, several of our members contributed Bonsai materials and supplies to inmates at Raiford Correctional Institute. Several members are still involved in this effort. Some of our members participate in Epcot’s annual International Flower and Garden Show, not only offering their trees for Exhibit but by organizing the display and maintaining it. Frank Harris was instrumental in organizing this event and now Paul Pikel is overseeing it. In 1988, Harold Harvey sponsored an auction which raised over $l,000, which the club contributed to the National Bonsai Foundation for the Naka Pavilion. Our club name appears on the brass plaque as a member of the Committee of Thousands. The club also made a contribution to the project dedicated to Jean Smith, Ft. Walton Beach. Several members: Frankie Colman, Harold Harvey, Tom Waldo and Marge Pierce have held office in BSF or served on committees. Harold Harvey also served on the Board of BCI. CFBC participated in the BSF 89 convention in Orlando and also in 1992 and BCI in 1993. CFBC also hosted the 2001 and 2002 BSF Conventions in Orlando.