SHOW TIME REFLECTIONS

By Staff

3935 Cooley Drive, NE, Salem, Oregon 97305

In the September/October, 78 GEM, Preston Foster wrote an
article finding fault with many shows in the way that they ran
their operation. At that time I was in the position of show manager
at Antique Powerland, and I took offense to his article. Preston
and I had some conversations and correspondence about this and I
hope that it was productive.

Since that time, with the many more shows on the scene, I have
had the opportunity to attend many shows. I have taken the time to
ask questions of the show managers and found out what their
thinking is about the way that they operate their shows. I have
found many factors that determine the type of operation they
run:

PROPERTY:

Quite a few shows are in the position that their property has
either been given to them or they are using a farm or municipal
fairground. They are in a good position in that they don’t have
any property payments to make, no taxes to pay and in many cases
very minimal expenses. On the other hand, the shows that are buying
property and paying property taxes must watch their budget very
closely. They have to charge a gate admission. (Some shows do,
however, let a bonafide exhibitor in at no charge.) Campgrounds
should be self-supporting. Charge just enough to cover the cost of
permits and electrical expenses. I have not heard of any shows that
are doing their thing just for the money. If they are, they might
be in trouble!

PLAQUES OR BUTTONS:

There is no excuse for not handing out a button or plaque to an
exhibitor. This is just a good practice and makes a nice memento.
Do it when the exhibitor arrives so that they can display it along
with their equipment.

SUPPORT VEHICLE LOCATION:

Many show managers feel that this is a thorn in their side. They
don’t have enough room to park vehicles very close to an
exhibitor’s area so they either let them park right there, or
quite a distance away. There doesn’t seem to be any clear
solution to this problem.

DISPLAY MANAGEMENT:

How many times have you gone to a show and been shown where to
set up your display, only to have someone else come around and tell
you to move it some place else. There is no excuse for this other
than a lot of shows rely on volunteer help, and the volunteer
isn’t always there. You will find one person doing his job,
along with three or four other jobs. They just don’t have
enough time to do all the things that need to be done. The general
feeling is that ‘they don’t need my help, someone else can
do it.’ I would say that if everyone at a show would donate
just one hour of their time to the show, there wouldn’t be this
problem.

GENERAL ATTITUDE:

Yes, I have been to shows where the attitude has been ‘We
don’t give a damn, we don’t need you.’ My feeling on
this is go back and tell all your friends that they are not welcome
at that particular show. If we don’t go to these types of
shows, pretty soon they won’t have them, and they will be
wondering why.

However, 99% of the shows that I have gone to the attitude has
been, ‘Welcome, glad you’re here, enjoy yourself and come
back next year.’

In closing, I would say to all show managers. Peace and harmony
should prevail at your show and who knows, the person that you
turned away might have had a one-of-a-kind item that would be a
real big display feature.

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