I attended my First ever Western Prototype Modelers RPM meet on April 30th 2016 in Bellflower California. This was only the second such type of event I have attended, the other being the MCPM meet that I use to coordinate back in Kansas. I made a few observations about the event, and not that anyone asked, but here is my opinion.
I for one liked the location, I know it was not a cool train station like it had been in the past, but it was well light, well equipped and there was plenty of room for vendors and displays.
Display and Vendors:
The tables had the leg extensions on them which brought them closer to the viewer, which was a nice touch. Also they were all covered in table clothes. There were cards for each person to fill out regarding who's model was where. I personally would have also placed a few more "Please Do Not Touch" signs on the tables as a gentle reminder.
I think having the Swap Meet was a Great idea, it probably could have been fit inside the building as there were a number of vacant tables. This may have been from the fact there was a major event going on in Fullerton that day and also with it being a new location it is hard to determine what attendance and space requirements will be.
Although a schedule had been posted it seemed to be a very fluid thing. The doors to the Swap Meet were not supposed to open to the public until 0830 and the event starting at 0900. When I walked in the door at 0830 there were people already in setting up their display and shopping. Also the events for the day was a moving target. The Clinics had to change times due to some issues, the raffle time changed along with the actual "end" of the event.
I attended both clinics, which were swapped around due to technical difficulties. Both were interesting but I think were thrown for a loop since they had to swap times on the fly. I would have liked to have seen more then two clinics for a the day, but that was all there was.
There was a huge amount of Raffle Prizes which I was very impressed with. I would have bought more tickets but by the time I got out of the second Clinic they were no longer selling tickets. I thought this a bit odd, but it seemed like they were trying to wrap thing up early. Instead of reading off the last four numbers they would draw the tickets and write them down on a whiteboard. Then there was a sense of controlled chaos as everyone compared their numbers to the board and went up to claim their prize. I actually won something as did most people who bought tickets. Due to some poor penmanship and individual ended up not getting their prize as someone else had a similar ticket. They did "make it up" to him by giving him the remaining unclaimed prizes.
Here are a few things I did with the MCPM that seemed to work well and really helped the event move along.
I understand the 75% of the attendees are from the area and knew each other, but there were a number of people from out of town that I felt had varying levels of interaction with other modelers. We are a small community and I think if each person was provided a name tag they are going to have a better chance of putting a face to a name or online handle. I also say saw great models, but unless the person was hovering near their stuff it was hard to tell who's items were who's.
If you are going to make changes, or have something you would like to let the group know about, make an announcement. Even if only 50% of the people are listening, find the loud guy in the group, clear your throat and let everyone know that in 20 minutes the next clinic will start or "Last call for raffle tickets." If you could use the existing PA system or even bring one it would be even better.
I personally think the raffle looses some of its draw with just drawing the numbers and putting them on the board. I feel calling them out for the group and letting the individuals "Come on Down!" really adds to an event. Also if you have two people pulling numbers it can move along pretty quickly and if someone has not claimed the prize by the time the next item has been collected you can redraw for the first item. Also if done at the end it is a good way to wrap things up, thank your sponsors and those that participated giving the event a more "Formal" closing.
I know this event has been going along for a very long time, but the announcements regarding the time, date, and the NEW location were very much missing on the forums I check. I understand there are a lot of forums, but it should be posted on more then just one or two.