Farm Collector Blogs > First Things

Not just greasy kid stuff

by Leslie McManus

Tags: first things, december 2011,

Your hobby is bigger than you think; perhaps even bigger than your wife thinks! In fact, your hobby helps fuel your community.

Here’s how it works. If you go to old iron shows, or if you’re an exhibitor at old iron shows, you help that club produce a bigger and better show. Whether you’re paying admission at the gate, buying a pork burger or setting up a display, your very presence contributes to the bottom line.

And who goes to just one show a season? Nobody. If you load up the pickup and head down the road to a show, chances are good that you’ll do business with the locals when you arrive: buy gas, get a room, hit the convenience store for on-the-road needs. Others traveling with you may do a bit of shopping at local shops. At the end of the day, there may be a meal at a local restaurant, and so on. Your hobby is a shot in the arm for businesses and communities.

And don’t overlook the people who feed you at the show. For instance, at the 2011 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, the Boy Scouts sold 67 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls. The Pork Producers made more than 8,000 sandwiches. Local churches produced enough beef and noodles, mashed potatoes and pie to feed an army. Proceeds from those activities filter down to support everything from local projects to international stewardship.

You may not think it adds up to much. Economic development experts know otherwise. That’s why they make sure promotional materials and online resources feature museum collections and annual shows. Check out websites for your local chamber of commerce or county economic development organization. If your club’s show isn’t featured, it should be. If the museum you support isn’t included in a list of local attractions, it should be. People who travel are looking for this information: Give them what they want.

And the next time you find yourself on the wrong end of a conversation about the newest addition to your collection, run the economic development argument up the flagpole. It may just buy you enough time to seek shelter from a rolling pin! FC