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Author Topic: Free Fleamarkets (for buyers)?  (Read 43878 times)
W6EM
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Posts: 800




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« on: September 08, 2013, 08:44:58 AM »

If I'm still among the living and ambulatory in 2014, I plan on attending Dayton for the first time.  Unlike many, I'll have a free place to stay: my daughter's house, who just relocated there.  I guess I'll have to buy a ticket to get in just to browse the outdoor fleamarket.

I've attended fests in CA, FL, AL and GA.  The largest yet has been Hamcation in Orlando.

One or two comments.  In CA, all hamfest flea markets in the SF Bay area were free for shoppers.  The price for spaces was all that clubs used to generate income.  Fair, and, IMO, how it should be. Perhaps, ARRL Hamventions weren't free in CA, as I didn't ever attend any back then.  Then again, you do get something for a price: air conditioning, a soft chair, and a few "lectures" albethey weren't taught by "certified" instructors.

Since I'm a hamflea-junkie, I don't like what appears to be the practice of Southeastern clubs in charging visitors "admission" to a parking lot fleamarket.  Even if it's behind a fence.  Sure, vendors and sellers should pay fees for tables, maybe more for power, air-conditioned space, etc.  And, several 'fests in the Southeast are just that: parking lot fleamarkets.

Hamcation in Orlando is quite a large 'fest.  I attended it regularly when I lived in Central Florida and now occasionally, since I've moved to near Birmingham.  Lots of everything made by vendors and a very large fleamarket.  Again, not much in the way of "education" and yet buyer attendees are charged a hefty price of admission to a 95% fleamarket event.

To my knowledge, there was only one "free admission flea" in Florida, and it was in the parking lot at Motorola, I think, in Fort Lauderdale/Sunrise.

CA is known for high priced real estate, utilties and gas.  But, yet, didn't charge ham flea market shoppers at parking lot events.  Am I missing something?  What's wrong with this picture? 

Large, recurring general flea markets in the Southeast don't charge admission.  Auctioneers don't charge admission to auctions.  If either did, nobody would show up.......

73,

Lee
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W1ITT
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Posts: 146




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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 06:05:08 PM »

It's all a matter of finances and priorities.  I was one-third of the team that ran Hosstraders, New England's largest ham flea market (almost 6,000 paid attendance for a while).  At first we charged admission to pay the rent, insurance, publicity, and later to add door prizes.  As we started making decent money, we donated it all to Shriners' Hospitals ($1.3 million total over the years.)  Some clubs use the loot to finance repeaters and other toys.  In the East, mostly you pay to get into a flea market or a full service hamfest.
As a side benefit of business trips to Silicon Valley, I attended Foothills and Livermore a few times, and had a great time and found "good stuff" that we don't find back east.  If you are in a college parking lot, there isn't much overhead, and you don't have to provide secure covered space for the commercial vendors as is expected on this side of the Rockies.  Regular flea market types always stayed outdoors, or under shelter of their own at our event.  Although it was fun to just saunter into the Silicon Valley flea markets without having to dip into my wallet, I have never begrudged having to pay to get in to other events.  Having been there and done it, I know how much work goes into putting on a seemingly simple event.  If you don't believe it, throw a party of your own and make your own rules.  Either way, most will be happy, but a few may not be.
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W6EM
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 06:18:08 PM »

The two large SF Bay Area events were devoid of commercial vendors of any size at all.  And, it almost never rained, so not much to worry about covering things.  Another one, held at TRW in Los Angeles, I don't think charged admission either.  And they were typically held once a month for about 6 months through the Spring and Summer.

I understand the reason for the admission ticket when there's a large indoor facility, scheduled talks, prizes, etc.  But, there are a few that are just only outdoor flea markets in parking lots and they hit you up at the gate and it spoils the idea for buyers.

But, when in Rome, have to do as the Romans do to stay in the game.  I now buy most of my parts and pieces on fleaBay, anyhow.  Driving upwards of 300 miles, even in a MiniCooper, to take in a flea market that charges me $8 on top of gas for the car is hardly worth it.
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W1ITT
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2013, 04:36:25 PM »

Lee...
I guess I'm a recovering flea market addict.  Like you, I make most of my purchases on ebay and online generally.  It's a bit iffy to head for a flea market with a specific item in mind, burning up fuel and time for something that may not be there.  For me, the only real draw of a flea market is seeing old friends, but now many of them are either gone beyond the ionosphere or not moving as spry any more.
And I guess that's why radio flea markets have dropped off from the days of the 80s and 90s.  But, at least once in every ham's life, Dayton is a must.  If nothing else, the physical size of the flea market is impressive.  Wear good shoes...
73 de Norm
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WI4P
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 09:34:58 AM »

Went to the ( free to attendees ) Ten-Tec ham fest in Sevierville last weekend and it was the largest and best tailgate boneyard I've seen in three years of attending fests in AL & Ga.  Very few commercial vendors but lots of hams with lots of gear.  I don't know whether or not they charge for table/tailgate space.

 
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HAMFESTS
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2013, 02:46:26 PM »

OM,

Ten-Tec didn't charge buyers or sellers for the hamfest.

I agree with you, there were many radios to buy there. If I had 10 grand I could have spent it all. It was a great hamfest.

It's becoming one of the best hamfests in the east coast.

Last two years I made it part of a family vacation as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are close by.

I got to meet Rob Sherwood too.

73
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 05:27:33 AM »

I admit that the hamfest that I contributed my time to was only a small, local one, but we also charged admission.  Nothing much was said if someone went in without paying, however--but they didn't get a chance for the raffle to win the door prizes either. (We did advertize there were door prizes--decent ones, not cheap trinkets--but not where door prize tickets were available.)  AAMOF, if someone did ask about the door prize raffle and how they could get a ticket, (there were a couple every year that would) we told them that the tickets were given when they paid their admission.  Usually they got red faced and disappeared!

On the other hand, we had a few people who insisted on paying for their kids, even though kids were admitted free, and a few people who would bring their purchases out to their car who paid a second time when they returned--to get more raffle tickets!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 05:37:57 AM by K1CJS » Logged
N4NYY
Member

Posts: 4776




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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 06:53:37 AM »

If I'm still among the living and ambulatory in 2014, I plan on attending Dayton for the first time.  Unlike many, I'll have a free place to stay: my daughter's house, who just relocated there.  I guess I'll have to buy a ticket to get in just to browse the outdoor fleamarket.

I've attended fests in CA, FL, AL and GA.  The largest yet has been Hamcation in Orlando.

One or two comments.  In CA, all hamfest flea markets in the SF Bay area were free for shoppers.  The price for spaces was all that clubs used to generate income.  Fair, and, IMO, how it should be. Perhaps, ARRL Hamventions weren't free in CA, as I didn't ever attend any back then.  Then again, you do get something for a price: air conditioning, a soft chair, and a few "lectures" albethey weren't taught by "certified" instructors.

Since I'm a hamflea-junkie, I don't like what appears to be the practice of Southeastern clubs in charging visitors "admission" to a parking lot fleamarket.  Even if it's behind a fence.  Sure, vendors and sellers should pay fees for tables, maybe more for power, air-conditioned space, etc.  And, several 'fests in the Southeast are just that: parking lot fleamarkets.

Hamcation in Orlando is quite a large 'fest.  I attended it regularly when I lived in Central Florida and now occasionally, since I've moved to near Birmingham.  Lots of everything made by vendors and a very large fleamarket.  Again, not much in the way of "education" and yet buyer attendees are charged a hefty price of admission to a 95% fleamarket event.

To my knowledge, there was only one "free admission flea" in Florida, and it was in the parking lot at Motorola, I think, in Fort Lauderdale/Sunrise.

CA is known for high priced real estate, utilties and gas.  But, yet, didn't charge ham flea market shoppers at parking lot events.  Am I missing something?  What's wrong with this picture? 

Large, recurring general flea markets in the Southeast don't charge admission.  Auctioneers don't charge admission to auctions.  If either did, nobody would show up.......

73,

Lee

This is one of the most thoughtless posts I have ever read here. The hamfests in many cases, are a radio clubs biggest fundraiser. Also, in the case of my radio club, the fairgrounds we use, charge a hefty usage fee for the grounds. And in the case of the bigger hamfest like hamvention, the logistical costs are enormous. All so you can get in for free. If you want a free admission ham radio flea market, go to ebay.
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W6EM
Member

Posts: 800




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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2013, 06:44:45 PM »



This is one of the most thoughtless posts I have ever read here. The hamfests in many cases, are a radio clubs biggest fundraiser. Also, in the case of my radio club, the fairgrounds we use, charge a hefty usage fee for the grounds. And in the case of the bigger hamfest like hamvention, the logistical costs are enormous. All so you can get in for free. If you want a free admission ham radio flea market, go to ebay.

Thoughtless?  No, just a different point of view than yours.  Perhaps I should have been clearer.  My focus was on the flea market portion of hamfests.  I guess that in "high real estate price" CA, the free weekend use of a college parking lot or that of an electronics manufacturer made the difference.  Also, probably the frequency of the swap fests, usually once a month from Spring through Fall, made a difference in overall club revenue.

From this point, I'll probably pass on most of them in the Southeast since the parts I usually look for, as you mentioned, are on eBay all the time.  Having to pay $5-$10 just to browse a parking lot flea market is, IMO, a rip off.

73.

« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 06:46:57 PM by W6EM » Logged
G3RZP
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Posts: 4619




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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 04:48:27 AM »

Does the 'free' use of a college parking lot get around the fact that organisers really need to arrange insurance? If so, that needs paying for.
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N4NYY
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Posts: 4776




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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 06:20:00 PM »



This is one of the most thoughtless posts I have ever read here. The hamfests in many cases, are a radio clubs biggest fundraiser. Also, in the case of my radio club, the fairgrounds we use, charge a hefty usage fee for the grounds. And in the case of the bigger hamfest like hamvention, the logistical costs are enormous. All so you can get in for free. If you want a free admission ham radio flea market, go to ebay.

Thoughtless?  No, just a different point of view than yours.  Perhaps I should have been clearer.  My focus was on the flea market portion of hamfests.  I guess that in "high real estate price" CA, the free weekend use of a college parking lot or that of an electronics manufacturer made the difference.  Also, probably the frequency of the swap fests, usually once a month from Spring through Fall, made a difference in overall club revenue.

From this point, I'll probably pass on most of them in the Southeast since the parts I usually look for, as you mentioned, are on eBay all the time.  Having to pay $5-$10 just to browse a parking lot flea market is, IMO, a rip off.

73.



It's called rent. Whether it is in a parking lot or building. And it costs money.
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W6EM
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Posts: 800




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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2013, 08:32:12 PM »

It's called rent. Whether it is in a parking lot or building. And it costs money.

I guess you misread what I said.....FREE frequent use of college parking lots and technology business parking lots out in CA.

Perhaps you meant you need to rent cars in your neck of the woods to drive to an otherwise unused parking lot since you can't carry a lot on the subway....
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N4NYY
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Posts: 4776




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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2013, 08:02:05 AM »

It's called rent. Whether it is in a parking lot or building. And it costs money.

I guess you misread what I said.....FREE frequent use of college parking lots and technology business parking lots out in CA.

Perhaps you meant you need to rent cars in your neck of the woods to drive to an otherwise unused parking lot since you can't carry a lot on the subway....

I have never known of any place to offer their grounds for free, be it a college , high school, church, or in our case, fairgrounds. The only think I can think of that remotely is this way if when restaurants or stores have a car show, and everything is free, but it brings in business to the store. Every hamfest I have ever been to in 3 different states, were on grounds that were not free. I have been to free flea markets, but the vendors pay for space. But never for a hamfest.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2013, 05:08:08 AM »

There are a few around that are free--it depends on the club and people who hold the 'fest.  For example, the MIT flea/fest every month in Boston.  Granted that that one is more computer than amateur radio now, but it got its start because of amateur radio.  Also there are clubs that have their own property and clubhouse--they don't charge themselves for use of their grounds...

It is true, however, that some places offer the use of their grounds if they can also have something that they themselves can operate to raise money.  For example, every year one club holds a fish fry/clamboil type affair at a local VFW, and as they use it as one of their few fundraisers, the VFW allows them the use of the hall--as long as the VFW itself opens their bar for ALL drinks--even coffee.  That club and the VFW have a good relationship, and both make money off the event.
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W7ASA
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2013, 11:07:13 AM »

Being a Westerner who is now living in the southeast, I can really see this as a west-v-east difference.  In California and most of the West, virtually any hamfests I ever went to were free for buyers and only the sellers had to pay a modest fee for entrance, if at all. My experience in much of the east so far shows the culture is quite different, likely because of a long history of suing neighbors (at least as far back as pre-1776 colonial era) , as are the number of insurance claims and in some places a "need" for 'security' at otherwise low-key, ham events and other nonsense unheard of in the more easy-going West.

When I lived closer to the north-east, the two most common questions for life in general I heard were: 'Is that legal?' and "Aren't you worried about getting sued?". Let's just call it a general lifestyle difference between the western and the urban/eastern idea of what is normal. Like any generalization, there are exemptions on all sides.


Personally, I prefer more 1776 and a lot less Kim Jung Un in my daily life.


73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ .-


Ps.  The TRW hamfest was AWESOME!  I used to drive for hours to get there and it was absolutely worth it. This is how I picture 'Ham Heaven'. The amount and variety of parts, gear and systems had to be seen to be believed - at least it was that way in the early 1990s'. The surrounding restaurants offered every kind of food on the globe a person might like.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 11:16:51 AM by W7ASA » Logged
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