So you want to start a vintage trailer rally near you? How do you do it? What are the steps?
Planning a rally is easier than you think.
Below are some rally/event tasks, responsibilities, or guidelines for Representative and volunteer help, not necessarily a complete list, not necessarily applicable. The Task Coordinators may require additional help from other TCT members depending on the scope of the task. The Coordinators are responsible to determine that and ask for help before or at the rally.
Open House-swap met?? Pot luck dinner- Western theme the entire event?? Music/dance Saturday night? Got any pickers to play for free??? Jam session?? Karaoke?? White elephant gift exchange? Door Prizes, group photo, and window placard- for each trailer. Speaker with a trailer topic- like questions and answers on restoring-Kenny my husband is good at that. These are some of the rally things/activities to think about.
A group area to gather for potlucks, shade is a must, (we have rented a tent in the past, but that is a pain), mostly full hook-ups, at least water and electric, and I think you must have the campground block off an area for our use also. I generally look on line first, have a list of question, which include, will you accept groups? Discounts? and who will be the wagon master -and keep and maker make reservations, group pavilion, decent restrooms, cancellation policy, and how much of a deposit to hold spot?? Then I follow up with a personal call ask more question, narrow it down and then go, and personally check it out the campground. I like state campgrounds too, but ours mostly don’t take reservations. I like everyone camping together, if possible.
This is a sample of my itinerary with notes. After I finalize this and give it out in their goodie bags, and go over it in your first meeting. It list what is going on, what to bring, where we are gathering, etc.
Thursday arrivals, they check in with the park, get set up. Give out goodie bags, with an itinerary inside Will attach my last TCT rally brochure for some ideas for you. Can meet them as they pull in or pass out goodie bags at the meet and greet. Yes, I like a first night meeting, do introductions there- we go around self introduction and trailer info, and the itinerary so everyone knows what is going on and when. I use name badges at least for the first night or ask they wear their TCT badges on a lanyard-for all pot lucks it is a good idea too. That might be enough, goodie bags, and introductions. We might also call a local pizza place have a few delivered, everyone bring their own- adult beverages and side dish to share if they want. Or can do a salsa bar idea, we supply salsa and chips, or ask that everyone bring their favorite salsa or finger food to share. Some people might not arrive until Friday, so turn out here might be light, introductions are the most important. Also I give a TCT talk and sing our song, hand shake and explain the group- see new members. Do you know our song, secret sign and hand shake???? If not let me know.
Friday-during the day on your own to explore and later arrive check in. Potluck is good, most will want to know what to bring, so theme it and give examples. Call it Cowboy Chow, The Lone-star dinner special, Mexican is better, or make finger foods, or sandwich, or Chili -red or green??, or something, that will complement Saturday dinner. Then suggest, they bring barbecue, ribs, or what dish specifically goes with the theme etc. After dinner, great time for campfire and trailer stories. Optional is going to a local event. Decorating, I try and spruce up things, with table cloths, table centerpieces, etc- mostly for the big dinner get together on Saturday night. Don't want to overdo, but just to get the idea across and create a bit of excitement.
Saturday- in the past, I cooked and supplied a pancake breakfast, but to much work. Now, only continental breakfast items. If the park does breakfast, get a group cost, and include that in the rally cost, and say free breakfast at the clubhouse. Don't worry about the quality, they are cooking it-no reflection on you, sure it will be fine, let the park do it, so you can enjoy the event too. 10-3 open house. I have in the past tried to get everyone together and go from trailer to trailer in a group, letting each owner explain their trailer, but that does not work well. Now, let everyone explore and see the trailer on their own. You need to call the press in for this, get as much coverage from the press and invite them and the general public and park residents during this time. I contact the newspapers, post on Craigslist, and put a sign up in the campground.
Swap meet, easy and most everyone likes it, bring it, set it out and hope it sells. Easy and fun. I like it, not everyone does it, but it goes well with the open house. Just put it on your itinerary, and mention it on your advertisement for the rally.
PM, like the idea of a catered dinner, afterwards, then gifts- and dance/campfire. Gifts, several options. I collect and get stuff donated, then wrap and give them out. or ask every camper to bring a trailer related item for the trailer trash gift exchange. You could just have a couple large item, featured items we can give away, or do the TT exchange. Think about which way you want to do it. One thing I can tell you is between the goodie bags, and gifts, you almost have a truck load of stuff to bring. Now add decorations, food, chairs and you have quite a load. Something to think about also. We generally don't do awards for best trailer etc. I have been in the car hobby a long time, and fine I don't like to judge. Maybe do a peoples ballet, with categories-if you want to offer awards, include it in your goodie bag.
Sunday- breakfast, hmm, it is a lot of work to do a breakfast, do you have help? There were 4-6 of us, cooking and feeding 40 trailer, also remember most trailers come the 2 people average. When you give out free food, they come. Just coffee and good byes can be enough.
Here is where it gets tricky, what time is check out? May people will pack up and hit the road early to get home, and not want to do anything Sunday, others will hang out. Something to think about. I like to stay on Sunday say goodbyes, then pack and leave Monday AM. Thanks the park also and make sure they are paid and happy.
Well, there is really nothing to it, once you find the location. This might be enough to start, and I hope it does not scare you, it would be wonderful to have your event.
Money: My Sedona-2010 rally was a challenge some are, it was attended by 27. Generally expect 30-50 would be my guess for your first event. Price is also important. This rally was expensive, $45. per night, I only charged a $5.00 rally fee, hardly covered anything, but I get some stuff donated for goodie bags, and door prizes. I block off 30 spots to start, and work with the park to get more. Tell the park you will release back to them the unsold also. Late registrations, can be a issue, so I use a cut off date. With exception of Sedona for the past 10 years all my rally’s have paid for themselves. The most I have charged is $25.00 per trailer and $5.00 is the least. Generally now a days, the less the better, but be sure to cover your cost, anything remaining goes into your pocket.
My last rally 2014 at Elephant Butte, NM lake was a bust. It was a new location, 130 miles from Albuquerque, and only attended by 6 trailers. So I lost money, the park was not happy, and I personally felt let down. You never know. I did include a free boat ride around the lake, there was a parade we could of participated in, a Mexican dinner at a local restaurant, paid by their $25.00 rally fee, chips and salas party, 2 gifts per trailer, nice (donated by my local camping store) a desert and cocktail party. You never know.
Also, I like there to be something to do close by, train rides, a town, river or lake, Six Flags, something fun, then see if we can’t get a group together and do something. Also contact the chamber of Commerce in the area and get information from them. Many time they will come to Friday night dinner-talk and pass out info for free. Does the park offer food? Do they have a restaurant? It is nice if we can have enough money from the rally fee for a catered dinner. Will the park extend the rally rate a couple days for us? Grassy area, don’t like highway noise, dirty and dust.
Then I put together info sheet, figure out a rally price, include TCT membership, and we can start selling spots. Will need to post on all trailer sites and let people know. Of course don't forget to post on TCT Terry is great at getting the word out. I’m sure I forgot lots of stuff, but that might give you an idea on what I look for, and what makes a good rally.
Am going to attach a few sheets of other stuff too. Call or write anytime for help.