Over the years assorted journalists have asked assorted visitors to the show how they tackle the problem of seeing everything, given that several thousand people are trying to do the same thing at the same time. The strategies to avoid the queues are as various as the visitors. I remember once as a visitor myself, when the show was held at the Motorcycle Museum, standing in the queue next to a lady I recognised as writing for an American miniatures publication that was very famous at the time. As the doors opened she put her head down and ran to the stairs and downstairs to the lower level. I ran with her, this being my first experience of anyone actually running into a dolls house show (though I have seen the phenomenon plenty since then).
‘Why are you doing this?’ I gasped swallowing the unspoken addition – you mad fool you –.
‘Everyone starts at the front!’ she gasped back, sprinting.
I subsequently employed this very successful technique myself when planning the strategy for interviewing exhibitors and often it worked, I managed to visit stands before they were four deep in shoppers and grab the items to be photographed and run. It only worked early in the day, of course.
There are also some exhibitors who are so popular that savvy collectors get there early because they know the best stuff will be gone. Here is a wonderful item from Masters Miniatures which I have a horrible feeling I am dooming to an early disappearance just by showing it to you but as this might be the only way you see it, here goes.
Oh how badly do you want that for your study? And I’m about to make it worse……
Oh yes, early bath for that item, I think.
The visitors I admire most in terms of strategy are those who buy the brochure at the entrance and then remove out of the rush and calmly stand with a pencil marking the floor plan. I think they must be able to see most of what they came to see, which really is a feat. If every stand were blown up to full size it would be like visiting more than one hundred shops in one day and trying to see everything in them.
Thank goodness it’s Miniatura which is planned not just with room for the stands but with wide aisles for the visitors. I remember long ago when Dolls House Shows used to be held in hotel foyers with everything crammed in, two toilets for everyone, and visitors shoving and pushing. At one point in the hobby, for a few years, I could guarantee that I would go home from a show with a terrible headache. Moving the Min to the NEC which is purpose designed for lots of people all at once, solved the squash at a master stroke. There are restaurants actually in the hall and plentiful toilets and seating areas and piped air and space the final frontier. I don’t think I could go back to squished up shows, I’m getting too old and too used to shopping and exhibiting in a civilised manner.
Long live Miniatura! (It’s the show that puts out the red carpet for the visitors, you know).