Running An Engine Show

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303 Fisher Road Fitchburg, Mass., 01420

What makes a top-notch engine show? ONE-every engine is in A-1 condition, running and used to do a job. TWO-every exhibitor camps in a very small tent trailer beside his exhibit. THREE-if you don't produce at least ten engines you should not be allowed to exhibit at a top-notch show.

Certainly none of these three statements is correct!

A top-grade show is one with a large number of exhibitors with a large array of engines, machines and related equipment. After all, what does anyone go to an engine show for but to show off their engines and to look at other people's engines?

How do you create a top-notch show? First, you actively recruit exhibitors. You use flyers, direct mailing, advertisements in national magazines, direct verbal invitations and, hopefully, a big ad in the national show directory. Most clubs do all that.

Secondly, you supply them with a good exhibit area with adequate toilets and adequate water, including drinking water.

Third, you make it as easy as possible for your exhibitors to set up. You give them marked-off areas with adequate space. You allow them to arrive early and leave late. And you allow them to camp with their exhibits even if they bring a 40' mobile home and only show one engine. As an added attraction, you attempt to provide them some form of entertainment and some type of refreshment concessions that do not charge so much that an exhibitor cannot afford to buy from them. You should supply added features such as parades, demonstrations of specialized equipment or techniques.

How do you accomplish this? Well, the ideal way would be to find 25 non-exhibitors, people not interested in engine shows, who could start three or four days before the show and work two days after the show, to do all of the set-ups, water supplying, errand running, parking, clean-up, etc. But I guess that becomes impossible.

So the next best thing is to prod enough willing volunteers (remember only ten percent of any club/organization are the active willing volunteers-200 members equals 20 active willing volunteers at the most) who will find some way to get the field laid out early; get adequate water for engines and drinking purposes; be sure the concession stands are ready and able to function; make some arrangements to get everybody parked; run errands with smiling faces and take care of the thousand and one things that everybody forgot would have to be done; find time in-between to set up their own exhibits; at the end of the show to tear it down and still be willing to come back and do their share of picking up tanks, hose, wire, rubbish, debris and what-have you.

If anyone has a golden answer for getting volunteers, every club and organization in the country would like to hear from them. Until that person comes around it looks like ten may have to do the work of twenty if their club wants to still run the biggest and best engine show in the area.

Maybe we should think about volunteering to do all of the set-up, clean-up, etc. for some other organization's affair, in return for their people doing it for our show!