RR 1, Box 1040 W. Campton, New Hampshire 03223
The 23rd annual Dublin, New Hampshire, Engine Meet was held in September 1994. Like most of the shows we hear about, we are having growing pains and trying to deal with them. For most of our years we have used the same ten acre field loaned to us by a local landowner. In return for his kindness, the show's two sponsors, the Dublin Fire Department and Auxiliary and the Granite State Gas and Steam Engine Association, have donated time and funds for improving the land. A couple of years ago trees were cleared to add more show space, but that was quickly filled by more show attendees. In 1993 the sponsors fielded a long list of complaints: not enough space around exhibits; we couldn't see two feet for all the campers in the way; cars in the parking lot were in rows three cars deep (!); the lines at the food tent were too long; people arriving on Sunday couldn't find a place to set up all the usual problems that come with both success and overcrowding.
It is easy to see where we went wrong over the years. The Dublin Show was started by a dozen men who knew each other well and knew how to work together. Twenty years later add four hundred exhibitors and twice as many spectators. No longer are signs with pointing arrows enough to guide people who have never seen this showground or even any engine show before. In the last couple of years the traffic congestion was awful! And early in the week, before the field was measured off and mowed, there would be a land-rush of campers to set up in the shady spots. We had to give up tractor parades because of traffic problems, both pedestrian and vehicle.
Early in 1994, with a view toward solving some of these problems before the September show, the Dublin liaison committee sent out a letter containing some proposals: changing the field set up so campers and exhibits were separate; a small fee would be charged for campers; people were kept off the field until work preparing it was completed; 'traffic directors' helped people to their set up spots and parking areas to eliminate wasted space. Members were encouraged to give comments and suggestions. Some did and changes were made.
The Dublin Show has come and gone with all the changes in effect. WAS it a success? Well, the sponsors give it a qualified MAYBE. Did we get any complaints? Boy, you better believe it! One man said, 'You tried to do too much. When you're turning a herd, you have to head them off a little at a time.'
What we did observe was no problem with parking or traffic and plenty of room for latecomers and extra exhibits. It may take a year or two of careful observation, but Dublin Fire Company and the Granite State Gas and Steam Engine Association members feel a lot more hopeful about things these days.