First off I must declare an interest – I am on the organising committee so may not be totally unbiased.Having been involved since the start back in 2006 this was rather a strange event for me. I had caught a dose of the lurgey on the preceding Wednesday and things were not much better by the Friday when we get in to the venue to set the halls up and welcome the first traders. I had some stuff to drop off which I managed to do but then felt rather guilty at leaving when I then left the guys to it.
Old friends Mark from Under the Bed and Graham from Graham's Wuerkshoppe always set up on the Friday and then come over to our house stay. A night out at a local hostelry is the tradition and although it was maintained I was on tap water all night which was not so good for the morale!The next day I dragged my sorry arse along to the show, once again later than usual. One of my jobs is to do the rota for club members. I had left it very late and although I had posted it on the club forum no one had seen it. Cue fumbling attempts to retrieve the list via my blackberry.
The show then opened and we were absolutely mobbed. Only one of the three people I had planned to be on the door was actually there but another volunteer stepped forward and I also took a place and helped out. There were 300 in by the end of the first hour and I felt my spirits start to rise.Having handed over door duties I then went for my first proper look around the show. It really did seem to be buzzing by that point. We had a record number of traders (42) and games on (39). Well over half the games were public participation and most of them had attracted a good selection of players which is great and once again adds to the atmosphere.
I picked up a copy of Check your 6 which I have been promising myself for a while and also made some purchases at the flea market. We helped pioneer flea markets (where the seller rents a table and sells his stuff himself) and it has been a great success over the years. It is interesting to see that more and more shows are adopting this approach over the traditional bring and buy. From our perspective it is much easier to organise and means we do not have to worry about that perennial problem of theft. For the seller it is cheaper (we only charge £2 an hour) and they have the freedom to display their wares and manage their prices as they wish. The great advantage for the public is the ability to haggle! Another benefit is that as table hire is by the hour the offerings are refreshed a number of times.It is always good to have a chat to wargames chums and although the organisational side can make that a little difficult I did manage to speak to a few people. Brian (see post on Washington Wargames Club) had made it up for the first time and enjoyed the experience. He stayed the night to make a weekend of it.
I decided that it was to be kill or cure and purchased Scotch Pie and chips from admittedly rather basic catering facilities. I took them upstairs to give Gary a spell on the flea market desk. In three quarters of an hour a sold one table so it was not overtaxing. I left not cured but at least still alive!I had planned to play a couple of games and the Lechars kamikazie set up together with Kirriemuir’s charge of the light brigade both caught my eye. I passed however and in fact bailed out before close of play at 4pm
Overall impressions?Like I said at the start I am obviously biased but I do honestly believe that for a show of it’s size it is very difficult to beat. What really makes it for me is the games put on by the clubs. They are always of a high standard and generate a lot of interest. It is great to see so many people taking part in the participation games.
Of course without the traders we would not have a show and we are very grateful to their support over the years. The flea market and the painting competition both add an extra dimension to the show.Any areas for improvement? I would be grateful for any comments to that effect as we are always looking for new ideas. The catering is pretty basic (although acceptable) but that comes with the hall. We are starting to reach the limits of what we can do in the space but I don’t think there are any better venues in the area.
Anyway another great show – thanks to all the lads from the club who make it so but most importantly thanks to the public for turning up.A few photos
The main sports hall. There is another slightly smaller hall that also has the canteen in it
View from the stairs of the passage between the two main downstairs halls
The flea market
The painting competition
The other upstairs hall - we may be able to make more use of this
More traditional eye candy here http://ironmammoth.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/carronade-2013-wargames-show-report.html here http://balkandave.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/carronade-13.html and here http://wappinshaw.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/the-falkirk-show-carronade-was-held.html
The organisation for the 2014 show starts next week!