Smokstak Bulletin Board

Show Fees (tickets) for Exhibitors

What does everyone think of the practice of show committees charging the exhibitors an entrance fee? Does anyone else have a problem with this? We, as exhibitors, are the entire reason that the general public comes to the show. The spectators come to see the engines (for a dedicated engine show, anyway). Yet many events choose to charge US so that we can become the attraction of the show. Doesn't that kind of sound like the New York Yankees players each having to buy a ticket before every game? When I ATTEND a show, whether it’s an antique car show, or an engine show, or any other spectator event, I expect to pay some form of an admission fee. But when I am an exhibitor, it just seems disingenuous on the part of the show committee. Am I out of line on this one? – Tim

I completely agree with you Tim. I don't think we as the attraction of the show should be charged. They are already profiting off of our hard work and then they expect us to pay also. I will not attend any show that charges me. If I get there and they ask me for money I will just turn around and go home. -- Tom

The local show around here used to get a lot of Engine people until they started charging entrance and camping fees and moved the campers into the shaded areas where they used to have the engines. Now most have left, as a matter of fact there was only one engine running there last year. Bums a guy out. -- Randy

I have a simple system. If I arrive at the gate and they try to make me pay to exhibit my engines, I will turn around and go home and will not even think of returning to that show again. -- Patrick

I totally agree with the previous posts. I attended a show about 20 years ago that started charging the exhibitors. It sure made a lot of exhibitors mad and they also had problems getting exhibitors to come to their show. I haven't been back. I think that the only reason that they continue to draw people is that it is the first show of the season. They also have a lot of Steam. I noticed they have a 1/2 page add in the April issue of GEM and in bold letters EXIBITORS WELCOME. I think they finally got the message. -- Dale

My first big show was at Georgetown, Ohio. I was told there was no fee if you brought engines. When I got there, they charged 4.00 each for my wife and me. After a four hour trip to get there it wasn't worth saving the 8 dollars by leaving, but I expressed my opinion, said I wouldn't be back, and I haven't. I went to another show north of here last year where I was told I wouldn't be charged, and I was, but in this case I said something to the guy that invited me. I won't mention his name here 'cause it wasn't his fault and he handled it properly, he told his grandfather who was running the show who then went and got my entrance fee back. This was a fair and the people at the gate were told not to charge anyone with engines but they did anyway. I don't mind giving money for a membership to fray the cost of the show, because I have found out what it cost to try to get one started. But I think it should be my choice, I like to see how they are handling the show and the money they get before I fork out any of mine. -- David

I agree to a point. There are some shows that charge a fee that makes me mad. But I don’t mind donating to a club, like Dublin NH, which is put on by the club and the volunteer fire department. The two greatest type organizations, in my opinion, engines and volunteer fireman. I do know that some of that money does go to insurance, like if someone’s five year boy grabs your exhaust pipe gets burned and goes to the hospital. That’s why we have insurance. -- Justin

Some clubs get around the "FEE" by saying you must be a club member to exhibit, membership only X number of dollars. The same difference as far as I am concerned. Either you pay or you don't show, so I save the trouble and just don't go. -- Joe

I have to agree 100% with not charging exhibitors to get on a show grounds. But in all fairness to some clubs, they have insurance which requires that exhibitor's be members. So at the very least be understanding and patient until you get the whole scoop. Remember the hard working club members who have good intentions, and feel the same as you, but can't govern every last decision made by their officer's. I've seen a lot of big shows ruined (at least for the exhibitor's) by just a few big shot's with that little bit of power going to their head. On the other hand there are a certain number of exhibitors who want special treatment and they can be a pain also. -- Ed

This has gone on pretty well! I'm the president of our club and there is NO WAY we would EVER charge an exhibitor, PERIOD! I know of shows that operate without insurance thereby saving at LEAST $900 annually. Our million $ policy costs our little show about $920 now after 9-11. That's up a little over $200 which I can understand. It costs a LOT of money to put on a show but we DO NOT NEED TO GET IT FROM THE EXHIBITORS. --- Craig

G'Day you blokes, I've read a few of your messages, some mentioned insurance. We have a system out here in Australia to cover every insured club member at any sanctioned Rally. No Ticket, but you pay an insurance premium of $8.00 Aus. Fifteen to twenty years ago there was a terrific rally at a place called Reedy Lake. It had everything, ploughing, steam launches, engines, traction engines, and rollers. They also served an evening meal on the Saturday night, complete with a real old fashion singsong after the meal. BUT it was never a real success for the organizers, not a lot of public showed up. Now I would not hesitate to pay a fee to attend that Rally because it was an ENGINEMANS RALLY. I also wholly agree with you in that if we are exhibiting at a successful rally we should be exempt from fees. -- Phillip

I think that is a good idea of having the fee to pay for insurance. I don't even know if the shows I go to have insurance, but in today’s world insurance is a must to cover you know what. --Tom

I'm sure this will be like throwing gas on a fire, but I'm well known for speaking my mind so here it goes! I don't think getting charged a small price to show my engines is out of line. When I attend a show, I walk around some, take in the sights and talk to as many people as I can. If you think you should get a free ride just because you brought something to show, maybe you should spend the entire time right next to your engine never leaving to see what else is out there. Now don't get me wrong. I spend a lot of time around my stuff making flour, Ice cream, etc. But, if I feel like a walk-about I shut down & take one. -- Brad

So, following that logic, should the judges, facilitators, emcees, security, food vendors, show committee members, etc, all pay that same admission? I mean, they DO get to see the show while they are there. -- Tim

To me, paying some club to help them have a good show by driving miles and miles to get there and then paying them to let me in with my display makes about as much sense as driving to the shopping mall and paying J.C. Penney or Sears etc. admission to get into their stores so they can make a profit off of me. No way! -- Joe

Guess I've been fortunate so far. None of the shows I've attended have charged exhibitors a fee. I have joined several clubs just because I wanted too. -- Leonard

There is a nice small show in central Jersey that seems to be shrinking a little every year because the people that now live around here don't have much interest in farm type stuff. Even though I am a member I pay the admission for me and my family just to put a few more dollars into the club. I would hate to see a show go away because it couldn't sustain itself. -- Rob

I have yet to attend a show which charges exhibitors and the ones I know who did try it died a slow death. Two of my regular shows do not charge anyone (not even the general public) and pay their costs with sponsorship from the local community. I will happily pay for a commemorative badge and attend the rally dinners as this helps defray their costs. It is probably a psychological thing, if I have just spent a fortune in fuel getting to a rally and then someone at the gate sticks their hand out... My last rally trip cost me $60 in fuel (for car and engine) and it was only two hours from home. -- Patrick

If a show wants me to join the club to display, that’s not a problem, because I probably would join anyway just to support their efforts. It helps them grow, make improvements and keep on going. I appreciate them providing a place for me to show my "RUSTY IRON." It's better than keeping it hidden away like a lot of folks do, where no one but I can see it. If they want to charge me like a spectator with no benefit of membership, I just might never go back. I remember when a place in Indiana did that a few years back. I never went back, and never renewed my membership. I'm sure they miss me and the money spent at the show and in the area - I bet they don't even know or much less care. I belong to several engine clubs and just show up when I can to support the function. Sometimes I don't show up, but they get my few dollars for membership anyway, so - what. I don't particularly like those who are what I call "FREE LOADERS", that won't even consider giving a few bucks to join or support a clubs efforts to provide a place to display their old, mostly forgotten items of the past. Now, to change the topic a bit, when going to a new show I call ahead and if I can't keep my engines on the trailer, and park my truck with it, I don't show up as a participant (several I like to go to in Pa. are like this.) Again, I may show up as a spectator and pay the entrance fee, and that's my choice. -- Paul

Nope! I'm all for paying a clubs dues (fees) but to participate by displaying for a show and having to also pay the admission fee? That just doesn’t sound right? -- Kid

Some random thoughts, almost guaranteed to annoy almost EVERYBODY --- Insurance: When you show your toys are you fully self-insured? Or, do you expect the club to cover your sorry butt should some kid get hurt on your display? How much is that piece of mind worth? Also, between Medina and 9-11, many clubs saw their premiums take a double hit last year. (Insurance companies don't lose money – ever.) Also, more and more insurance companies are requiring that exhibitors be members for two reasons, one so that they know who (and how many) is to be covered liability wise, and two, because as a member you can't as easily sue 'yourself' for stupid things like a flat tire or pinholes in a tarp. Toilets: can you hold your own for 3-4 days (like a camel)? Do you rent your own and bring it? How much is even that smelly blue thing worth? Camping space: When is the last time you priced a night at KOA or at the Roof? Does the club have security? Vendors: The fellow out in the flea market is usually paying $10 a day, or more, the guy next to you is mostly "exhibiting" price tags. Or perhaps you just happened to bring along "a few" pieces to unload while you're there - IS that REALLY fair to the club? I've heard the small engine lot at several shows referred to as "flea market east.” In my opinion, someone should be rather ashamed of that. (Please note: I do not include invited professional vendors in this category, they are obviously guests.) LABOR: a lot of clubs are being pressed into "hiring" the local Boy Scouts, 4H, FFA, or Firemen to do things that volunteers used to do (like park cars, run various refreshment stands, pick up trash, etc.) due to lack of people willing to help. These organizations usually expect a generous "donation" in return for their efforts. And then there is the "exhibitor" with one Maytag, a 42 foot motor home, a noisy generator that runs round the clock, and his entire extended family along for the fun. Or the 'exhibitor' who brings his buddy and an engine that they never unload, never start, and in fact are never even uncovered, they just hauled it in to save $3 a head. I don't know where to even start on these fine fellows, but the question is "Where do you (as a reasonable show promoter) draw the line?" At some point it’s just easier to charge EVERYBODY a few sheckels. My $.02, your mileage may vary. -- Allen

I have seen this topic come up quite a few times on different web sites, and I used to agree with it 100%. I have to say that looking over the broader scope of things I have to agree now that I would pay the 4-5 bucks admission fee to exhibit. It does cost a good bit to run a show, and the money is for a good cause. I look at it this way, sure I am bringing entertainment for spectators but why should I feel I am owed a spot at shows? They didn’t ask me to restore my engines and display there. They are providing me with an outlet to show off my toys and above all have a really great day hanging out with all my buddies I only see at shows and meet new friends, etc. I figure that couple of bucks could be spent a hell of a lot worse on a pack of smelly coffin nails. People throw that kind of money away everyday and don’t give it a second thought. Vendors should be charged flea market prices as they are running a business. I agree with the post about the free loaders I see them all the time at shows but what can you say? Ok that’s enough fuel for the fire. -- John.

I feel that I have paid my share by filling my gas tank 2 or 3 times out of my pocket just to go there and back. Then unloading and reloading my engines, in the rain, heat or whatever. Then by putting it all away when I get home. I refuse to pay a gate fee on top of that. It would be much easier just to go empty handed and pay $5.00. I can still shoot the bull with everyone, not have to worry about being with my engines, and leave when I feel like it. If the club is hurting that bad then up the gate fee by 50 cents. If you need to be a member for insurance purposes, then they can make you a honorary member for the weekend. I feel that I am doing my share just by bringing the engines at my expense and effort. -- Allen L.

We do not find it necessary to charge the exhibitors at our Pioneer Power show here in West Branch, MI. Just the opposite we do a free pig roast to show our appreciation to the exhibitors (flywheel engines and tractors) and flea marketers. Because we appreciate the exhibitors and flea marketers we are growing bigger every year. We get our revenue from the gate fee and are doing very well. Always the third Friday in July, you are all welcome to come and have fun with us. -- Ed

Not meaning to defend greed, but I want to point out that sometimes shows or show grounds are forced into extorting membership dues because of uncooperative local government agencies. If the public is let in, the show may fall under some local government’s jurisdiction, like the health department, or zoning boards. If they make everyone become a member of the Private Club, they can claim the show area is a private event, and then is not subject to government regulations. Often the folks charging the membership fee at the gate do not have the time or knowledge (need to know basis) to explain this sort of situation in detail. Or they can not risk loosing an entire show because of allowing a “non member" (general public) inside. -- Bill

I still say people blow that kind of money away every day and could care less, so what’s the big deal? I don’t have a problem kicking in the $3-$5 I have heard of at some shows, although the ones I go to only charge me parking if I’m not showing that day. I have never heard of $8 to exhibit - that is a little much by a couple of bucks. -- John.

There are two local shows in which we display. Our entry fees are waived if we display. HOWEVER, our profession is racing. We are the ones putting on the show -- yet we pay the same price as any spectator to enter the gate (and it's not cheap I might add .) I know the one local show struggles each year to survive. Rather than see it go kaputz, I would rather make a donation of sorts (be it an admission fee or whatever) -- we really enjoy displaying. My 2 cents worth. -- Laura

Personally, I have never been asked to pay an admission fee at any show where I have exhibited. Then again, maybe I don't exhibit at enough shows! I don't mind making a voluntary donation, but if I am going to pay admission, then I feel that I may as well save myself the trouble of loading, hauling, and working a display. Just relax, and enjoy the show. Do we pay our employers for the privilege of coming in to work each day? Exhibiting is a lot of work, no matter how much we enjoy it. As for insurance, one show asks you to sign a form when you register your display. The way I understand it, by signing, you are "loaning" your display to the club during the show. It is merely a formality. When you sign, your display becomes covered by the club's insurance. To open another can of worms, I know an exhibitor who told me that he will not display at a particular show. He was upset because he felt that the public was being charged too high an admission fee. In his opinion, the show had become a money making venture for the ones putting it on. I think all of us are in this hobby for the pleasure that it gives us. If we aren't happy at particular shows, we are free to avoid them, and find ones where we do feel happy. Let's all try to have fun. Happy show season! -- Tom

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