There are a few factors to consider when selecting a model horse show venue. Don't forget to include specifics of the venue in the show packet.
This may be the most important factor.
First, geographically in a region, is it well located (to help draw folks to attend)? If it's hard to get there, folks may not come. Having major freeways, national rail/bus service, and/or international/regional airport nearby are important. I'd recommend that unless the folks you're expecting to attend will be coming primarily by car, that you be not more than 30 minutes from a major airport.
Second, does the show hall have a hotel (or good place to stay) in the near vicinity (less than 5-10 minutes apart by driving)? Does the show hall have adequate places for food nearby if not providing meals as part of the show?
Third, does the show hall have other activities that non-showers may be able to participate in while the showers are busy? Having the event near an amusement park, golf or other sporting activities, outdoor adventures, may draw more folks to attend. Also consider the route folks may travel to get to the show hall area; perhaps there are antique stores/malls that might draw folks.
Online searches ("meeting venue" is a good keyword set to use) may provide you with a number of options for venues beyond the hotel ballroom, county fairgrounds or local church hall.
Is there a large enough room to have a show (2000 square feet and up nominally)? Is the show in a non-rectangular set up that may be difficult to layout the show hall?
Many venue representatives may not understand what a model horse show is. But if you tell them it's like a "Bingo" set up, that will give them a better idea of how a setup might work.
Given half of a 6' table with maneuvering space, it's about 20 square feet per shower, plus remember to allow about 40 square fee per show ring table. If you're expecting folks in wheelchairs or motorized scooters, additional space around tables and wider traffic lanes.
Many locations may have cement floors. While this makes it very easy to roll items in and around, those not prepared may have very sore knees or feet from walking around all day. Some locations have rugs, or may be able to cover the cement with rug.
The best show hall would have great natural sunlight (blue-length light) in a luminescence level that horses are well visible. (But out in the open under real sunlight may be "too" intense for judges to judge all day.)
However, many venues have incandescent, halogen and/or fluorescent lights. These sometimes cause horses to not appear with "proper" coloration. Some venues often have "low" levels of light.
Given a choice between a "brightly" illuminated florescent lit hall and a low level blue-length light room, select the former.
Many venues may be able to supply tables and chairs. But make sure you know the condition, shape and number available, as well as the cost of rental, if not included the room rental rate. Nominally 3' wide x 6' long tables are the norm.
There may be tables on their last leg -- literally -- that may collapse with any amount of weight and would be unsafe to use to put valuable show pieces on. Also ensure that the tables used do not sag. (You may have to arrange for additional tables to be rented; check with the venue that rental is allowed as well as when/how to arrange for delivery and pick up.)
Another thing to inquire concerning tables is the type of surface. Although covered tables might look nice, the cloth may make it difficult for some horses to stand well on a show table. The venue may have limitations on any show/shower used table coverings, including that they are fire resistant.
Chairs without arms offer the most flexibility for attendees. As attendees will be sitting in chairs for many hours, comfortable, ergonomically positioned chairs are important. Padding is often appreciated; upright backs may be required by folks with back concerns.
As the majority of showers are female, having a well-stocked bathroom is very, very important. Having a location of the bathroom close to the show hall is helpful.
To save on expenses of using in-venue catering, bringing in outside food, or the time of leaving the show hall for meals, having a kitchen facility that can be utilized is very nice to have. Please confirm with the venue what restrictions or limitations, if any there any, about showers bringing their own food to the event.
Some showers love their pets and want to bring them to shows for socializing. Confirm with the venue any restrictions or limitations on pets in the facility. Also check with the host hotel if animals are allowed.
To keep the show going and get announcements over the show chatter, having a public address system is very helpful. (Otherwise having an announcer who can yell over the noise may be required.) Venues often charge extra for A/V equipment.
It's great to have a white board or something to indicate which class is active in each show ring. Venues may be able to provide this as well.
As showers will be transporting their show horses from their vehicles (or hotel rooms) into the show hall, having a set up with out stairs or levels makes it a lot easier.
And having a show hall close to vehicles/rooms is helpful as many folks make many trips to/from vehicle/room.
When talking with a venue, the venue availability may affect the show date. So having multiple weekends/dates may make it easier to find a date. Some venues may need six or more months in advance to find an open date; others may be booked farther out.
What security is utilized may be mandated or restricted by the venue. The venue may allow a shower's spouse to provide security or require a security guard to be hired.
If a show allows early set up or is held on multiple days, it is important to find out what security is available, or that none is available, should folks choose to leave stuff overnight, and inform them accordingly. It could be that the room is locked at the end of each show day and no one can get access. Or if a large enough vending area, a security guard on duty during the off hours may be required. (Sometimes rooms are cleaned "after hours" so there may need to be a way to indicate a pile of "stuff" left on a table is not trash.)
Security during a show may also need to be investigated. Many shows do not experience problems with the showers, but if a show allows visitors, it may be a concern.
Check with the venue if vending/selling is even allowed. Higher rental charges may be incurred to allow selling (which should be passed on to vendors, if possible); this also may apply to any raffle or live/silent auction the show may hold.
You may want to contact key vendors to ensure their participation before signing the contract. The venue may also be able to provide you with information about any local/regional/state regulations relating to sales.
If vendors will be included, there are some things they may need in a show hall. (Layout needs discussed in Hall layout.)
Vendors may need electricity (to run a computer, etc) or a phone line (for credit card transaction) or internet connection (highspeed). These are often additional charges from the venue.
Many venues require a signed contract for a show. Please read the contract over and ask questions (or for any changes) before signing it or making any deposit. The contract should detail the when's, what's and how much. In addition it may detail any change the venue may need to make with respect to dates.
I suggest reviewing the contract very carefully and note each deadline. These may include deadlines for hall layout (for approval by the fire marshal), meal orders (minimum numbers, menu), final rental payment, etc.
Many venues also have a single person as your point of contact with the venue organization. This person's phone numbers should be on every phone's speed dial. If there are any changes needed or problems that crop up in relation to the venue the first call should be to your contact.
Some venues may be connected to a hotel. You may be able to negotiate lower hall rates based on the number of hotel room nights used. Showers may also appreciate the opportunity to stay near/at the show especially if a reduced group rate and block of rooms is set aside.
Genesis | Timeline | Philanthropy | Venue | Show Date | Class List | Judges | Theme | Awards | Raffle, auction | Vendors | Promotion | Hall layout up | Sponsorships | Finances | Program | Sportsmanship | Countdown | Running the Show | Aftermath
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