We are running into one frustrating snag after another with our Arizona Gypsy Journal Rally and we are teetering on the edge of whether or not to even hold it, so I’m going to vent a little bit here, if you will allow me.
Two years ago the fairgrounds changed the starting time for our Early Bird day from first thing Sunday morning to noon, and this year they moved us back to 1 p.m. I got a phone call the other day telling me that they had booked another event before us and at our rally scheduled for next February we would not be able to start parking people until 3 p.m. That gives us about 2½ hours of daylight. We normally park in excess of 120 RVs on Early Bird day. Can you see a logistics problem here?
Our original agreement allowed us to bring in two other RVs with us for our advance crew, a week ahead of time, and for us to be able stay over on the fairgrounds for about three days to get all of our after-rally paperwork caught up. This year we had to leave by 1 PM on Friday because they had booked another event.
There has been no consideration for the cuts that have been imposed upon us, we have just had to suck it up and deal with it. But we’re done giving in. The fairgrounds manager is out of town this week, but I plan to call him next week and try to get things back on track as originally agreed upon. I will know more after that conversation takes place.
Meanwhile, the cost of everything, from fairgrounds rental to insurance, to morning coffee and donuts, paper cups and plates, etc. has all gone up. Some over 400%. But we have kept our price the same, which is the lowest by far of any rally around, and we offer more seminars than most.
We have lost money, a lot of money, on our last three or four rallies, and finally (reluctantly) decided that for the Arizona rally, we had to raise the price by $25, to $150 for the four days of camping, over sixty seminars on everything from RV driving to RV fire safety, computers, internet access, boondocking, RV electrical systems, solar power and a lot more. Not to mention our evening entertainment and tons of door prizes.
Suddenly we started getting e-mails complaining and telling us we were getting too greedy, that four days of camping at a fairgrounds without full hookups is not worth $37.50 a day no matter how many seminars we offer, and such.
I have to be honest. We are asking ourselves if it is really worth it? We love the camaraderie of our rallies and we try very hard to make them the best events we possibly can. But it takes months to plan a successful rally; the Ohio rally has not even begun yet, but I’m working on the Arizona rally. For the weeks leading up to a rally, we both work 10 or 12 hours a day, and even more during rally week. Not to mention the work put in by all of our volunteers. After a rally we are physically worn out and this year after the Yuma rally Terry became very sick.
So again, is it worth it? We are burned out and cannot continue at this pace. Our options are to stop holding rallies altogether or to go down to one rally a year, possibly in different parts of the country. Either way, the cost has to go up, because even with the $25 price increase we won’t do much more than break even.
I am interested to know what you folks think. Especially those who actually come to our rallies and know what kind of event we put on. Should we cancel Arizona for 2013? Should we hold it and then go to a reduced schedule? Or should we get out of the rally business altogether? If we do continue, how much are you willing to pay? What’s fair?
Thought For The Day – Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.