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Chuck:

Yes, Detroit did a great job!

We participated/joined in a pre-convention tour to New Hampshire being put on by Skip Pattinode and the Mid Atlantic Chapter. Also participated in the Lake Huron 1000 miles. Either type of tour would be great.
---A rally to the convention put on by one or more chapters or a themed cross country tour encouraging people to make their trip in their Alfa and make it a vacation trip pick 3 sites of interest to the individual an get a photo their Alfa and /or a receipt ticket showing participation? Russ Neely was talking about an event the OK chapter put on which allowed people to participate for the whole year in seeing OK sites and submitting validation at the end of the rally. Have I got that right Russ?
--- Or a pre-convention tour designed for participants to show up and take when they arrive the weekend prior. We did end up 8 days straight. Next time we'll take a day off) in our spider and 2400 miles on the road before the convention.

Diana and I both liked the concours on Saturday morning with the rally and banquet following the concours. That may have been hard on the concours judging staff. Having the awards brunch Sunday morning was nice too.

The key to successful conventions is a friendly, welcoming local chapter who does their best to make sure the visitors to their city/area see some of the best parts of it and celebrate Alfas with fun events for club members and their families.

My favorite events over the 30 years and 28 US conventions we've attended have been (in no particular order):
--The rally that had a firehouse museum as part of a stop and questions that made the rallyists pause and appreciate the museum (Baltimore)
--The rally that took me thru the Eisenhower tunnel on I70 after a beautiful climb on a twisty road
--The fashion show at the 1990 Detroit Convention
--The driving school at the West Virginia Raceway at the Baltimore Convention
--The Autocross driving school at Detroit 1990
--The welcome party at Santa Fe (I believe) where we had lots or room and people lingered visiting & meeting new folks.
--Beautiful and scenic drives in Arizona (the longest drive got the most scenic views) and Santa Fe the high road to Taos and time to explore that jewel of a town and the missions on the way.
--Don't make the rally a non-fun event. Sum of the digits?? Slow drives thru construction and traffic. Need for the panic envelope. Boo, Hiss. But we've been there and done that!
--Art Deco Rally in Tulsa non-'rush hour'. What tells you more about Tulsa's downtown than starting a rally at 4 or 4:30 in downtown Tulsa and having no traffic problem. What gives you a better look at the city than a fistful of photos and instructions with fill in the photo numbers!
--Autocross over bridges in downtown Tulsa, unbelievable in 1988 and even more fun when I participated and my wife's spider ended up on the Alfa Owner cover.
--Blowing my Alfetta's oil filter seal in the San Diego football stadium parking lot and my wife being told by those sitting with her, "Don't worry, we'll help you get it running, replace the head gasket . . ."
--This year, Andrew Garcia, Brian Shorey, Andy Kress and others replacing my lower radiator hose after it got cut by my air conditioning compressor. 28 years later, I got that help to make my car driveable, just like someone promised Diana in San Diego, back in 1979 Thanks guys!
--Driving the Lunch time tour laps at Road America back at Chicago's last convention in Milwaukee
--After convention trip to Aniwa WI for a look at Alfa Heaven
--28 great trips in our Alfas in association with the Alfa National Conventions all the lower 48 and many Canadian Provinces.
--All the friends we've made and events an the associated chapter events in Eureka Springs, (Kansas City, St. Louis and Oklahoma chapters) at Tulsa, 1988 was the first time we heard about Eureka and the St. Louis Spring Fling, which we heard about at Eureka but until we'd retired this year been unable to attend.
--Many Fabric artists are from the midwest and the Art Shows and the (Quilting workshop 2nd year in a row) have drawn an number of participants.

Remember, The majority of attendees will be people from 600 or less miles from your geographic center. Make sure you advertise and get media coverage locally so you recruit new people that don't know about the Alfa Club and Make sure those local and neighboring visitors know what your chapter does year in and year out that might get them coming back and again, make they (and all your attendees) feel welcome.

Looking forward to a great convention in Chicago, next June. IChicago is a city, we have never visited.

Best Wishes,
Bernie Bennett
 

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Convention Memories

Chris:
mentions a number of things Diana and I talked about on the way to Detroit this year. The Alfa Aspen rally / pancake breakfast at Maroon Bells was a great rally and the babbling brook are memories we'll never forget.

Dash plaques too are something we have a collection of from a number of conventions.

Bernie

*saddling up to the bar* make my Sasparilla...now about this convention thing you are talking about, My first Alfa convention was...never mind. Some of the highlights that stick out in my mind are the after dinner parking lot conversations. Nashville had music, an open bar and everyone was wandering around having a great time.

About the dash plaques, those are sort of a talking point for people when they see the dash plaques on the car. They are sort of a bragging point as well as a curiosity item. My dash plaques from Alfa Aspen are special to me.

T-shirts, a great idea, but if you want to limit them, then make them only available to those that sign up early so you don't get stuck with a lot of extras. Make a limited run of other sizes for those that sign up later, so when you run out then there isn't any more. My Nashville T-shirt I wear to out to dinner now and then because it is comfortable. Never know when you might find another Alfisti who spots your shirt. ;)

The card idea is a good one. I would like to leave a card for people to contact me if I find a car that I want to know more about. Always looking for a Veloce. :)

At the DueMille Convention in Los Angeles there was a pre-dinner no host ****tail social which gave some of us a chance to socialize.

At Alfa Aspen we had a very early morning rally to a breakfast in the mountains that was very inspirational with the setting of the Blue Belle mountains. Maybe a rally to one of the great estates along the lakeshore would be in order. :)

The place to wash/detail your car before the car show was always a busy place. A nice treat for those that drive a long way and want to clean their car before the show or to park in the parking lot. Maybe this could be sponsored by Griots/Meguires/3M/Adams etc, to provide products for us to try out. A small pressure washer would be nice to get the grime and bugs off. Maybe one of the providers of products could also provide someone to talk about the products, their uses and give some demo's. This could make for a great tech talk. :)

Concours...never enough time to judge or see the cars. Tulsa was disappointing for me as I had to judge, but then I didn't get a chance to see the cars as everyone left as soon as the judging was over to get back to the hotel for lunch. The lunch could be with the concours, so you can enjoy the cars.

Judges are hard to get because no one feels they know enough to judge. An incentive of a special T-shirt or hat or some kind of simple compensation that is different could get some more volunteers. I could like a shirt that says "Concours Judge" with the convention logo on it. I could wear that at other car shows or venues. :D

Some people leave on Mondays, a Sunday night social for those that are left could be arranged with the locals. I don't know if there would be enough of a draw, something to be polled.

Hopefully this will provide some good suggestions.
 
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