Swap Meet For Charity
Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
225 W Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67202
Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17th, 2018
8:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. – Friday
8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. – Saturday
I wanted to get out information to our vendors as soon as we could on upcoming changes. It is coming in a little slower that I would like with so many pieces and parts so I decided to go ahead and send out what I have available. I will be sending out more as it comes in and it will be posted on our Facebook page as well. The Facebook page will be more up to date as info comes in. I do not have maps yet-I am working on getting things together for those, but we are anticipating space sizes to be about the same in the 10x10 size. If that changes, we will let you know. We are also hoping to have more spaces and a possible car barn. I am unsure of table rental rates at this time but there will be a limited number of table rentals available, there will be an option for electrical rental for those that would like electricity at their space (we do not get any of this fee and have no choice in the venue charging it), and there will be no $5 a day parking fee, but there are metered areas around the venue.
First of all, I know that for 40+ years there were no changes to the show and that was an enviable situation to be in. However, when the Kansas Pavilions were sold several years ago that put our community at the mercy of a private citizen owner should they ever decide they didn't want to continue events and this is what has happened. It was the prerogative as private owners. Sadly, that is exactly what happened and it is why the swap meet was sold to us.
The club holding the meet prior didn't want to reinvent the wheel as it was an already arduous task and they felt that was a good time to break away from it. John did not want to see the swap meet go away as he had enjoyed it for many years and had a lot of fond memories of it with meeting up with friends every year that sometimes he only saw that one time a year. Plus, he saw it as an opportunity to make it a charity event. WE DO NOT BENEFIT FROM THIS SHOW AT ALL PERSONALLY. Our proceeds are donated to the ARC of Sedgwick County. We do not take a salary for any of our time (all year round) and all of our help is donated as well. This show does take a full year of planning for about 4 office staff as well as 25-50 volunteers at the time of the show. WE DO THIS FOR FREE because we want to give back to the community that we are apart of.
John and I bought (it wasn't given to us) the swap meet from the Model A club out of our own pockets with the understanding that with no venue, there would be no meet and no refund of our initial purchase. We have done everything we can to make sure a swap meet has been held each year since then.
Has it been perfect? No. Reinventing the wheel every year is hard, especially on an undertaking this size and with vendors that are set in the old ways of things. Change is hard for everyone and sometimes it causes hard feelings. Sadly, you can't accommodate everyone the way they would like sometimes and you certainly can't make everyone happy when you are dealing with hundreds of vendors and 1000's of spaces. For that we are truly sorry. However, we have had a lot more positive interactions than we have had negative and we appreciate that! Some of you understand our dilemmas as you have been in our shoes promoting an event and others do not have the personal experience to understand what this entails. That is OK.
When we took this on, it was the FIRST event we had ever promoted. Think about the size of this event and the issues we were taking on. What a crazy task it was. I thought my husband had lost his ever loving mind, but I said ok! He promised me I wouldn't have to lift a finger. LOL. I knew better! We have had a lot of bumps and bruises but we have had a lot of successes as well. Quite frankly, we think it has gone pretty well in spite of all of the turmoil we have dealt with. Like I said, we have room for improvement and continue each year to try to make it better, even while reinventing it each year due to venue issues. No matter how perfect it gets, we will always find a way to improve the show as there is always something new that comes along that you can enhance with!
Last year we did have to split our venue in order to accommodate as many as we could. After cutting our space at the pavilions the year before, they cut us down to only one building last year. We got almost everyone in, but not quite. We tried some new things that didn't go so well over in P1 and we learned from that. Our hearts were in the right place but due to last minute permissions from the Pavilions and time constraints, it just didn't work out well.
Well, this year, the Pavilions completely pulled out of community events and that left us with only Hartman. With a lack of easy access to floors and floor space and hundreds of stairs with one elevator we looked at other options. The only other viable option for size and location was Century II. For 4 months we went back and forth with them working on times and dates. Unfortunately the very first thing we found out was that our standard date was a no go. No matter how we tried to swing it, it just wasn't gonna work. It was already booked and we couldn't do anything about it.
We then started going weekend to weekend to get something as close as we could. Almost every date had something already on hold, but not contracted. When that happens you have to challenge each date you want that is on hold but not contracted but you can only do them one at a time and there is a cost associated with each challenge. It takes 10-14 business days at the earliest to see if they are going to contract the date after you challenge the hold. The only dates we were able to secure were the dates we took. Everything else had something going on that ended up contracting the space as they had first right to it. It wasn't what we wanted, but it was the only choice we had. We contracted the date and then put our deposit down. That is also a requirement.
That being said, the venue has more space, we will be in one building, we will have much better concessions in all areas of the venue, we will also have bar access in all areas of the building, and we are working on parking options for trailers and such that will be announced in the near future.
There will be much closer accommodations for hotels, entertainment after the show in the evenings, and a lot of different lunch/dinner options outside of the venue for our vendors that were not there before. We will even have nicer weather!!
We do understand that the Chickasaw swap meet is the same weekend and if we could have avoided it, we would have. We in no way shape or form wanted to use the same dates as we understand the consequences for both shows, but had no choice.
For those of you that are not able to attend with the new dates, please let me know. We appreciate your patronage in the past and sincerely hope that we can continue in the future. We are not sure if we will be able to get our original dates back in the future or not. We will know more after next years meet. Your confidence in us has meant the world to us and we promise to do everything we can to make the show as great as it can possibly be.
I have attached the updated 2018 flyer, a hotel list (we may have a block of rooms set up in a close hotel closer to the meet date, but not sure on that just yet), and the electrical order form from Century II for those of you that would like to have electricity. Things are still a work in progress and we will continue to update our Facebook page as changes happen. We have many vendors that didn't supply us with an email address, we are trying to contact them via phone as well.
Kansas Sunflower Swap Meet for Charity
John and Rene Saindon