Posted by: bleedingartindustries | August 5, 2010

Community Support

I thought I would post a little musing on engine shows.  They are a conundrum in the way they work and how the are an expression of community.

Will Voss demonstrates log sawing

Will Voss demonstrates log sawing

This past show, the Leslieville show society decided to charge for people who show their engines and displays on the site.  This had a number of enraged participants as their point was that there would be no show without them.  The great problem is that as a show grows in size, it needs more resources to fund the infrastructure, organization and activities.  The charge was only 5 bucks, the same price as a fancy coffee, or after work brew.  Still all the same my consternation at the gate was only followed by the hurtful after feeling that I was being taken for granted.

A brief calculation of the costs:  Fuel for travel for 4 hours to and from the show site = 100 dollars, Hotel while there, = $120.00; and the hidden costs Fuels and lube for engines = $40, Truck and trailer rentals = $175.00, food = $40.00… in total this can add up to a surprising $475.00 and we haven’t even started talking what my time is worth.  In a time of economic crunch, this is a lot of cash for one individual to shell out on a Hobby.  It was quite angering to be hit with a un announced fee at the gate when it cost so much to be there in the first place.

But then again, how will our community survive if we don’t show up as volunteers to keep this hobby alive?  What purpose would it benefit, especially in losing the youth we so desperately need to continue the hobby, when this ancient technology is crammed in sea containers and sheds; horded from view by our desire merely to collect?  I am not sure of the answer, but I am sure that how the show organizers and those who show need to proceed is carefully to ensure both parties can survive.

As a post script, participants on a year back had quite a lengthy and heated conversation about charging to display at shows.  A search of their archives will reveal some interesting reading on the subject.

Steam show in Big Valley

Randy Quill at the Big Valley Steam.



  1. Charging participants seems to be the norm in the boat show circuit. I run a boat with an antique 3 cylinder 100hp 325rpm Washington-Estep engine in it and we regularly pay the fees to be in various shows. We’re not in the business of exhibiting, we’re actually in the small ship cruise business, so we’re mostly at the shows because I love to show off the engine, but it doesn’t really generate any business for us. Our cost is a “little” higher too:$100 show entry, $200 for fuel, $600 for crew, $400 food and provisions, and that doesn’t include the fact that I’m not on a regular paying voyage with the boat.
    I still go, I love to show of the boat and engine.

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