October 08, 2009

Report On Fall Carlisle 2009

First and foremost we had a good time and the weather was pretty nice. The event seemed to be somewhat sparsely attended by both vendors and shoppers compared to past years. The Car Corral had a lot of collector cars for sale including some nice street rods but the spaces on the steepest part of the hill did not have any cars on them, which probably meant they did not sell. Can’t really blame people for not wanting to park their really nice cars there.

Most vendor spaces appeared to have sold with the exception of several indoor spaces, which were conspicuously empty. When it rained Friday night many vendors left. That was the only traffic jam I saw at Fall Carlisle 2009.

The days when people coming to the flea market would back up traffic on I81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike are long gone, most probably due to the Internet, high gas prices and the recession. There were buyers in the isles but the isles were not crowded like they used to be. Some vendors I spoke with thought this might be due to the cost of admission and parking at the flea market being too high. Admission was ten dollars and parking was ten dollars too which, means a buyer would have spent twenty dollars before ever buying one part for their car. A flea market really needs lots of buyers with money to spend in order for it to be worthwhile for the vendors to come. Some vendors I talked to thought that Carlisle Productions should lower the admission price to encourage more buyers to attend the event since many of the buyers may have been hurt financially by the recession. This seems like a good idea since it would probably help everyone including the vendors.

However the lack of crowds did have some advantages. You could get a hotel room in Carlisle any night you wanted during the event, there was no one squatting on our space when we arrived so we could pull right in, and in general the event seemed to be more relaxed and hobbyist oriented like it was in the real early days before it became so big and successful.

The foreigners from Europe still came and were buying cars. We also learned that there is a new country where people love big old American cars. It is Brazil. At least there is no worry about the cars ever being driven in snow there, because they don’t have any.

Now we are getting ready to go to Hershey where there are always many rare and amazing cars to see and photograph. We should have photos of both Carlisle and Hershey 2009 on our site in a couple of weeks.

Stay tuned.

1 Comment One Response to “Report On Fall Carlisle 2009”
  1. Actually, being a long time vendor at Carlisle it’s not so much the internet and high gas prices- since gas was higher last year and eBay has had decreased traffic over last year. It’s a big factor of the prolonged recession coupled with the fact that Carlisle Management has failed to maintain the show to it’s roots.
    Why should I or anyone else travel half way across the country to go there to buy socks, cheap Chinese tools (from the 10 different vendors selling them), Nascar clothes, brand new tires and rims (not actually related to anything on the show field of vehicles), cleaning products from any one of a dozen vendors selling the same thing you can buy from the Mothers truck at Gate 3, or any of the multitude of inappropriate junk on most of the spaces that they can get just as cheap at home.

    The conspicuous empty spaces in the building (glad to see you noticed) are there because the vendors either moved out of the buildings (us) or quit the show all together- pedestrian traffic though the buildings is horrible and only gotten worse over the past years.

    It has nothing to do with going back to it’s roots as a hobbiest show- talk to the vendors- we’ll be happy to let you know why it’s failing. Did you see the young woman selling used baby clothes in one booth? I’m sure that’s in the hobbiest spirit, right?

    I’ll be interested to see your assessment of Hershey too since I was there as well.

    Russ on October 15th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

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