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Back From the Show

Well, 2010 has to be the snowiest show we’ve had in Indianapolis to date but it didn’t seem to dampen the attendance or enthusiasm too much.  We had attendees/dealers from both coasts to augment the regional collectors and dealers we see every year.  Add in a pretty fair walk in crowd for appraisals the day of the show, despite the weather, and you end up with a weekend well spent.

I attend other shows throughout the year as time, distance and funds permit and I’ve noticed or at least heard that each show has its own special flavor.  Amana is the granddaddy of them all.  Sistersville and the new Canton show are steeped in the oral and actual marble making traditions that surround their towns.  Vegas, from what I’ve heard is, well….. Vegas.  Let’s just say there’s more going on than marbles and leave it at that.

When you get past the big name shows you find a lot of regional shows.  I love the look on a non-collector’s face when you tell them that they could attend a marble show somewhere in the country almost every weekend of the year.  Wouldn’t it be fun to take a year off and do just that?  Some people try to visit every baseball park in the country so the idea isn’t all that crazy.  Well, maybe a little crazy.

Some of the regional shows are growing while others are in decline.  There are a lot of reasons for this but I believe the biggest one is this.  You have to have someone local who is willing to step up and make a solid effort to promote the show, both locally and even nationally through the chat boards and any other means possible.  It’s a lot of work.  Ask anyone who puts on a show and they will sound a common theme.  Shows don’t run on name recognition.  You have to do the footwork no matter how big your show might be.

So what makes a good show?  Here’s a few things.  A hotel that will work with you.  Understanding club members that will help out in a pinch.  Quality marbles at decent prices across the spectrum.  The old adage is true.  “If you build it, (have a nice selection of marbles available for every taste and pocketbook), they will come”.  Have a few pleasant surprises along the way such as a walk in or two.  Last and most important, make sure to have fun.

Fun is the hard part these days.  Money is tight due to the recession.  Almost everybody has reason to be concerned about their jobs or retirement income.  So maybe we can take a page from when marble collecting was in its infancy.  First, most anyone can take a Saturday and drive to a local show.  Splitting the gas with someone near you helps with the cost and gives you somebody to share your stories with to pass the drive time.  It also makes the day of the show more than an afterthought to the in room trading that happens before a show. 

Second, trade marbles or do a marbles and cash deal.  This way we all get something new that we want and stay engaged and excited about our hobby despite our limited funds.  Some find this hard to do but it really is fun once you get the hang of it.

Last, take time to catch up with your old friends and make a few new ones.  This is easier for some of us than others.  I’ve been told that I’ve never met a stranger and have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.  Guilty as charged, but I find that I meet some of the most interesting people that way.  There’s far more than marble talk going on at a show.  Ask anyone who regularly attends.  The great thing is that you already have something in common with the people you are with.  You have all lost your marbles and are trying to buy them back.  Scratch below the surface and you’ll find marble collectors are, mostly, some of the most interesting people you will ever meet.


Indy Marble Show Jan 2010

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