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Google Map of 2019 Fiberglass Travel Trailer Rallies

2015-2019 Annual Map Producer: Jeannine Patané/RV Compass


Green Eggs Rally

Inyan South Dakota Rally

 

 

 

 

boler 50th anniversary
Photo credit: Shaun Konkle

What did it take to pull off the grandest egg event in history? Learn more about the massive endeavor:

Organizing the boler 50th Anniversary Event

The Story behind Organizing the Largest Fibreglass Trailer Event Ever Held

By Ian Giles

What it Takes To Coordinate an Excellent Rally

By Jeannine Patané
December 9, 2018

Fiberglass trailer gatherings come in all sizes and can range from an intimate meeting for a few spontaneous friends, to a large budgeted event with an extensive schedule line-up. Whatever size of gathering that is projected, there are the five basic “Ws” to consider along with how to have an excellent rally.

WHY

Going on its third year, the Spring Fling in New England Rally is coordinated by Gerry Landry. He wanted to attend a rally near his home in Maine and couldn’t find any listed. When he inquired on the forums, he felt challenged to organize one by the negative responses to his topic. With a little thought, he said, “I can do this.”

To coordinate a rally, “why” is the first thing every organizer must personally discover. The justification could be as simple or profound with whatever one identifies with. As long as you have a reason to put together a rally, it’s reason enough. By answering why, all the following details fall into place.

Spring Fling in New England group photo
A group photo of the Second Annual Spring Fling in New England. Photo credit Jon Vermilye. More of his photos can be seen on lakeshoreimages.com.

As the coordinator for Egghells in the Outer Banks, I envisioned a rally that actively pushes attendees to “get out there.” I wanted a gathering that encouraged independent exploration while having the group support and resources back at camp.

“Why” could be because you want to meet like-minded campers while visiting your children in another state. It could be your passion for a particular state park that you'd like to share. It could be because you’re driven to put together the greatest rally of all-time. Whatever the motivator may be, organizers must first know why they want to put together an event.

WHERE

After answering why and deciding to commit, the next decision is where. A specific venue may already be in mind, or you may have to actively search for the appropriate one. A few things to consider when choosing a venue:

  1. Number of potential sites verses the number you have interested in attending. Do you want room for growth? Examine the reservation process.
  2. Venue management. Are they accommodating and willing to work with large groups, or are they hesitant to have your business? Do they offer any discounts? How are they willing to help?
  3. Group space. The larger the rally, the more important it is to have a meeting place such as a pavilion or conference center. Sometimes rental charges may apply, but there are venues that provide free group space for a guaranteed number of bookings.
  4. Amenities. Some small trailers may not be self-contained, so decent showers and toilets are important to some. Unless it’s specifically a boondocking rally, clean amenities matter.

WHEN

Where you choose can also determine when it will be held. If it’s peak season it may be a struggle to find spots and prices will be at a premium. Seasonal weather can be a huge factor. When considering the date for the event, two other important things to look at are potentially conflicting events in the area of your location at that time, and potentially conflicting rallies.

If an annual state fair or music festival notoriously sells out area campgrounds for a week you’re highly unlikely to get sites or discounts. Find a good shoulder or off-peak time of year when a venue is more eager for your business. It’s also advisable to look at the Google map of Fiberglass Travel Trailer Rallies to see if there are any nearby events on the same dates you were considering, as not to make attendees have to choose one gathering or the other.

WHO

Rallies are about a group of like-minded people coming together to share. Included in the sharing is the individual responsibility to make the event happen. Rally coordinators are the delegators; they can’t be every role for the community and take on every task.

Founder of Green Eggs and Ham, Shorty, knows this very well. With a dedicated team of volunteers for almost a decade, they understand that when they have a good idea for an event, he is probably going to respond, “Great! Make it happen.”

Shorty delegates by having participants take ownership of their suggested event from cradle to grave. “They get involved not only to have a good time, but to help out so everyone can have a good time.”

Green Eggs and Ham Volunteers
Year after year, participants take ownership to their great ideas and make it happen for Green Eggs and Ham, held every spring in Alabama.

Green Eggs and Ham Craft class
Green Eggs and Ham participants get involved in a craft class.

He tells attendees, “If you realize something needs to be done, do it without having to be asked or coerced into doing it.”

On attendees who have a critical comment about the rally, Shorty says, “Bring it up to me, however, make sure you come with a potential course of action to make it better. Even if it’s not the right solution. This shows you have taken the time to think about how to make it better. Anyone can stand back and sharp shoot.”

Although coordinators lead, participants crucially shape the event and it’s up to the coordinators to communicate this to them. Shorty’s last words are to, “Enjoy yourself at the rallies, get out and meet new people, make first-timers feel welcome and just have fun!”

WHAT

Rallies can go from zero things planned to a full-throttle of entertainment, workshops and seminars. Many take a middle-of-the-road approach and that depends on location, willing volunteers and budget.

For location, if there are enough area attractions and community events, leaning on the destination location can be easy. If your venue is out in the middle of nowhere, then it would be wise to start harnessing some sort of schedule with the talent and related interests of those who are attending.

This is when “who” and “where” becomes important in preparing “what”.

Keep in mind what works for one rally might fully bomb for another. Eggshells in The Outer Banks does not do a pot luck for several reasons, yet there is a schedule of customized events catered specifically to the location and people.

Every rally should have its own tailored schedule based on location, interests and people attending. By copying a formula from one rally might short-sight the area offerings and interests for another gathering. Make it unique.

HOW

The budget and marketing are how events are driven. Rallies aren’t free to pull off. Even the simplest things like signs or a dry erase board, tape, name badges, printer ink, coffee, cups, folder packets…these all add up as expenses. Coordinators already invest their volunteer time and efforts to make an event happen. By no means should they be expected to flip the party bill too.

Smaller gatherings often keep it open with donation jars, but as numbers grow or the cost for scheduled events increases, so must the introduction of registration fees and an operational budget.

As Landry states, “It is a lot of work and I am on the go from 5am until 9pm for four days (during the rally), not to mention the hours and hours on the computer to promote, answer questions and have my mind race because I never really know how many people will attend.”

Checking in at Eggshells in THe Outer Banks
The author doesn't even sit down for the check-in of over 260 attendees at the Eggshells in The Outer Banks rally.

A lot of a coordinator’s time is dedicated in marketing the rally and providing information to keep participants informed, and to attracting potential participants. It’s paramount to provide the needed details or coordinators set themselves up for an inundation of repeated questions.

Providing OBX information
Pat, a participant, stands with the author at check-in. Every registered site was given a welcome bag full of area information. The bags alone took numerous hours and people to pull together.

In addition to marketing an event, how information is delivered is as equally important. It must be easily accessible to the public and as directly accurate as possible. Coordinators want to enjoy the rally and have a great time too. We can’t do that when dealing with an influx of people who choose to be ignorant to the information we’ve already provided, so spelling it out for everyone is crucial.

Going back to the “why,” we have our reason for this endeavor, but why bother if no one knows about it? For the Spring Fling in New England Rally, Landry hands out rally-tailored business cards throughout the year to not only trailer owners, but also to potential owners wanting to come to the “Shine and Show.”

He stresses, “The most important thing is you have to be willing to do the work promoting it. Other things are also important, but if you can’t get the people there it doesn’t matter what activities you are planning to do.”

Lastly, Landry adds, “In the end, the only thing we can’t control is the weather—and so like the weather—your rally will be what it will be.”

Folks visiting at Spring Fling
Happy smiles and shared visits happen at The Spring Fling in New England Rally. 2019 will be its third gathering. Photo credit Jon Vermilye. More of his photos can be seen on lakeshoreimages.com.