The Gwinnett County Fairgrounds will be for the birds this weekend.

The Southeast Exotic Bird Fair will be held at the fairgrounds in Lawrenceville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Organizer Victor Lin said the selections of birds that will be showcased at the fair ranges from different types of finches, such as canaries to macaws, which are essentially brightly-colored, long-tailed parrots from Central and South America.

Cockatoos, another form of parrot, which are from Australia and Indonesia, are expected to be there as well.

“There will probably be 100-plus different varieties,” Lin said. “Your typical pet store will probably have like five to 10 different varieties. There will be a few thousands birds (at the fair).”

The fair is, according to Lin, a place for bird enthusiasts, rescue groups and licensed bird retailers from around the southeast to gather and show off, and often times sell, birds to people who are looking to get a feathery companion.

The event’s organizer described it as “between a traveling circus up to a traveling Sam’s Club for the bird community” where someone who is looking to get into bird ownership can go and find affordable prices.

“It’s more like a meeting ground for bird lovers,” Lin said. “And a lot of times, it’s cheaper than pet store rates. You’ve got everything from finches to macaws and most of this stuff is available for sale. Every now and then, you have some people who come just to advertise their businesses that do like kids birthday parties or go to libraries to do educational seminars.”

Attendees of the fair can buy a bird to take home as a pet directly from breeders who will be on hand at the event. They will also be able to purchase bird food, cages and toys.

The price range for birds stretches from as little as $8 to upwards of $30,000 depending on the type of bird and the person who is selling it, according to Lin.

“The $30-grand is an ‘I don’t want to sell it’ type deal,” he said. “There’s no blue book (values) on them so it could be someone’s show bird that they take around to the classrooms and do educational tours so they say ‘No, I don’t really want to sell it,’ but everybody says ‘I want to put a price on it.’

“Well, then they put a ridiculously high price on it and if somebody says yes, then they put a higher number.”

Fair organizers hold several events each years, rotating between locations in metro Atlanta and north Florida. They recently held a fair at the Atlanta State Farmers Market in Forest Park in early June.

Two more fairs are expected to be held in Forest Park in September and November. The next fair in Lawrenceville after this weekend, however, is scheduled Dec. 1 to 2.

Lin advised any one who is interested in attending this weekend’s show in Gwinnett, however, should not wait until later in the weekend to go to the fairgrounds.

“The earlier they get there on Saturday, the more variety will be available because of a lot of them are being adopted and sold out,” Lin said.

Admission is $4 for adults and free for kids under 16. The fairgrounds are located at 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway. Organizers said service animals will be allowed in with their owners, but visitors can not bring outside pets into the fair.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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