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NEAF crowd trends

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#1 DaveB

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 08:41 PM

I'm hoping to drive to NEAF this year. I'm not (necessarily) looking to purchase anything, just an opportunity to see the latest gear, so I'd prefer some less crowded times. Are there any general trends for when the show is most/least crowded? I've heard that early Saturday can get crowded for some early sales, but maybe that's changed.

Thanks!

#2 bill1234

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 06:57 AM

Longer hours on saterday always make it the buissest day.

#3 RAKing

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:14 AM

Early Saturday used to be crazy when Televue had their "Blem Sale" (cash and carry, first come, first served, etc.) They haven't done that for a couple of years, so it's not so bad.

Saturday morning is still the busiest time, but if you get there about 9 AM, there should not be a line or anything.

There has always been plenty of room and the aisles are wide. :cool:

Cheers,

Ron

#4 George N

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 01:59 PM

The last two years Sunday, and especially Sunday afternoon, seemed to have fewer people, but also less stuff to buy. Also the exhibitors are tired by Sunday afternoon, and might not be as chipper as earlier. Personally, I don’t find the crowd on the main exhibit area all that bad at any time. However, parking is a different issue. On Saturday morning in particular, you may well have to park in one of the over-flow lots and walk a distance. Unfortunately the one year I got stuck in a distant lot was the year I bought my ES127ED refractor – and had to carry it and its heavy case, a looooong way.

Other considerations for picking a day/time: NEAF is more than just a trade show. Is there a presentation that you really want to hear? The presentations are top-notch. The years I only went one day, my choice was always ‘best weather’ if possible, because I like to spend a good deal of time at the Solar Star Party. You will be hard pressed to find a better collection of solar observing equipment to view thru in one place, and it would be a shame to show up on the rainy day and miss the sunny one.

#5 DaveB

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

Thanks all for your responses. I may actually base it on the weather as George mentioned, not to mention that good weather will make the nearly 3 hour drive more tolerable.

#6 George N

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:50 AM

Thanks all for your responses. I may actually base it on the weather as George mentioned, not to mention that good weather will make the nearly 3 hour drive more tolerable.


Drive: I live northwest - up Rt-17. The few times I drove down myself I spent the time making a mental catalog of the road-kill along the highway! :shocked:

....including two fox and a bear!! ...and enough deer to make a store full of deerskin moccasins.

#7 StarStuff1

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 03:56 PM

I have been 3 times, the last time about 5 years ago. Sunday afternoon was always the slowest time as far as crowds go. And yes, the solar star party is a hoot. Enjoy!

#8 Phil Cowell

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 06:22 PM

Thanks all for your responses. I may actually base it on the weather as George mentioned, not to mention that good weather will make the nearly 3 hour drive more tolerable.


Drive: I live northwest - up Rt-17. The few times I drove down myself I spent the time making a mental catalog of the road-kill along the highway! :shocked:

....including two fox and a bear!! ...and enough deer to make a store full of deerskin moccasins.


That's because the NJ hunters had already shot all the horses, mules and large dogs and took them back to NJ. (Upstate NY joke, if Its got fur and four legs it's a Jersey city folks idea of a deer).

Phil

#9 A. Viegas

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 06:58 PM

I found it more crowded than last year... But with that said, I think there were fewer bargains and more just interesting new stuff... The presentations were good too... NEAF is a lot of fun,many it's professionally produced!

Al

#10 stevenwav

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 08:33 PM

Really packed this morning (Saturday)!

#11 Pinbout

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 08:38 PM

Thanks all for your responses. I may actually base it on the weather as George mentioned, not to mention that good weather will make the nearly 3 hour drive more tolerable.


Drive: I live northwest - up Rt-17. The few times I drove down myself I spent the time making a mental catalog of the road-kill along the highway! :shocked:

....including two fox and a bear!! ...and enough deer to make a store full of deerskin moccasins.


That's because the NJ hunters had already shot all the horses, mules and large dogs and took them back to NJ. (Upstate NY joke, if Its got fur and four legs it's a Jersey city folks idea of a deer).

Phil



I wish they'd shoot the deer that come into my backyard in montclair. And the **** raccoons in the trees.

#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 04:09 PM

I arrived a bit later than usual, sometime after 10:00 a.m. There was a sizable line waiting for tickets. I've never experience that before at NEAF and I've been attending it for quite a few years. I couldn't get into two of the events in the lecture hall, another first for me. I was able to see the final lecture by Dr. Alan "Pluto is too a planet" Stern by standing in line well prior to the talk.

Dave Mitsky

#13 Danny206

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:18 PM

Incredibly I think I have been to every neaf and more often than not its well worth it to check out. You can see the new products in person and get to actually touch the focusers on the scopes :). And there is so much information readily available thanks to the knowledgable vendors and fellow attendees around.

Its especially worth it if you are checking out and seriously considering buying something in particular.

I met Vic Maris of Stellarvue who couldn't have been more gracious with his time explaining the Stellarvue manufacturing processes and the way they obtain glass to the way they polish it. I had always imagined an optician would zygo test a lens in process and from the surface topology get some sandpaper and polish the high areas. :)

I also managed to talk to Howard from Astro-physics who was very patient with explaining polar alignment with the Mach1.
This year their display was "run of the mill" compared to the last years retro soda shop theme. But the rare AP 175 air space was on display, along with an AP 130GT on the Mach1.


All in all a great NEAF this year ( for me ).

#14 bherv

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:50 PM

I arrived just before 11:00 on Saturday and was relieved that I didn't have to wait in the line because I had a free ticket for attending last years Summer Star Party and only had to go to the online window to get my entrance ticket. I too was unable to get into the Tyson presentation. A friend of mine told me while I was waiting in line that they were only letting a few more in so I just walked away. I was going to go to the last talk but I had more stuff I wanted to buy and wouldn't have time afterword. It definately was a larger crowd than I have seen in a while. We had many people stopping by the Arunah Hill booth for a free meteorite. I chatted briefly with Tony Flanders when he stopped by. I also got a chance to chat with Howie Glatter after picking up a 2" TuBlug. I was on a limited budget but I almost caved in to temptation and picked up the ES 5.5 100 at the OPT booth for $272. There was quite a few families there this year at least more than I can remember in the past. All in all it was a good day at NEAF.
Barry

#15 rodney

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 09:42 PM

Well, as a vendor. Saturday morning was dismal compared to years in the past. Last year as a perfect example we had 4 ( Four ) sold complete observatories by 10 AM. This year it was not til after 3 we got to that number. Sunday was our stellar day. Thanks everyone.

Clear skies,

#16 Awesomelenny

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:45 AM

Our group go to this NEAF "pilgrimage" every year and this year we universally thought that this was the best NEAF EVER! The crowds were very good we thought. There were several awesome new products on display and wonderfully innovative too. The Solar Astronomy Party outside on Saturday with the great warm weather and sunshine made for a huge crowd attending!
To all the vendors, thank you for being there! Can't wait to go again next year!!!

The ONLY thing that was bad, and was really pitiful....was the cafeteria being closed and instead we were served a pathetic buffet lunch of hot dogs and the crappiest chicken I ever saw! I bought a hot dog, that *BLEEP* chicken and rice and a diet coke and that was $16.00. I really should have demanded my money back.

#17 Pinbout

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:56 AM


The ONLY thing that was bad, and was really pitiful....was the cafeteria being closed and instead we were served a pathetic buffet lunch of hot dogs and the crappiest chicken I ever saw! I bought a hot dog, that *BLEEP* chicken and rice and a diet coke and that was $16.00. I really should have demanded my money back.



I went out to 59 down the block and had Wendy's. LOL

thanks for your cameo on the solar party vid. :p

https://www.youtube....h?v=ZCfEaiyTW5M

#18 George N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

Thanks all for your responses. I may actually base it on the weather as George mentioned, not to mention that good weather will make the nearly 3 hour drive more tolerable.


Drive: I live northwest - up Rt-17. The few times I drove down myself I spent the time making a mental catalog of the road-kill along the highway! :shocked:

....including two fox and a bear!! ...and enough deer to make a store full of deerskin moccasins.


That's because the NJ hunters had already shot all the horses, mules and large dogs and took them back to NJ. (Upstate NY joke, if Its got fur and four legs it's a Jersey city folks idea of a deer).

Phil


:roflmao:

...getting off topic, but: When I was at Ft Sill, they held (along with the neighboring national park) an annual elk hunt. Several guys each year shoot one of the wild donkeys and put their elk tag on it. The rangers at the weigh station don't have the heart to tell 'um that they don't have an elk! :smirk:

#19 George N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

Our group go to this NEAF "pilgrimage" every year and this year we universally thought that this was the best NEAF EVER! The crowds were very good we thought. There were several awesome new products on display and wonderfully innovative too. The Solar Astronomy Party outside on Saturday with the great warm weather and sunshine made for a huge crowd attending!
To all the vendors, thank you for being there! Can't wait to go again next year!!!

The ONLY thing that was bad, and was really pitiful....was the cafeteria being closed and instead we were served a pathetic buffet lunch of hot dogs and the crappiest chicken I ever saw! I bought a hot dog, that *BLEEP* chicken and rice and a diet coke and that was $16.00. I really should have demanded my money back.


On Saturday they ran out of food! I did not eat lunch either day. I'm going to return to my prior-year plan of bringing a cooler with a sub sandwich and something to drink and eating in the parking lot.

BTW.... nice to see and talk to you once again!

#20 rodney

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:34 PM

Cafeteria closed for spring break....very poor planning on the part of the show presenters. And Sunday, when it was time to go. Viola, all those guys were gone. The outside vendor entrance was a massive fire code violation. And not one NEAF rep was there to direct traffic. A fiasco to say the least. Get it together guys, we spend a lot of money to come to this show.

I saw NO new products. Other than the Hercules setup. Many empty booths. Vendors packing up at 2 on Sunday and leaving. I was there, I am not making this up.

As for crowds, horrible. That is the wording that works the best. Saturday morning was the worst I have scene in 7 years of going to the show. Then "rumor" has it they lowered the admission price to $20 right before Mr. Tyson came on, seriously?

How about a suggestion(s), go back to when it was fun and organized. These guys with their big badges on that they are officials means NOTHING if you can not read there NAMES in small print. Take ownership of the show or there will be few more to come.

Cloudy skies, ( Bad production )

#21 George N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

This was my 3rd year as an "Exhibitor" (with the Kopernik Observatory), so I see the opening bell! There seemed to be fewer people at first, but Saturday filled up fast, and Sunday especially seemed to have a better crowd.

There seemed to be a new group of exhibitors (Losmandy for the first time) and a few missing. I saw a return to a larger number of refractors on the floor, and there was a very nice selection of Dobs covering the spectrum all the way up to Teeter and New Moon premiums. There were plenty of discounts ( I bought an iOptron display mount for 10% off, no sales tax, no shipping, and got a nice discount on Deep Sky Planner ). Some vendors had everything on sale, with Televue eyepieces at 20% off and good deals on ES. Vixen was selling off their entire display set of scopes, etc. I didn't ask prices.

Finally, on Saturday (best sky) the Solar star party was 'crazy'. The warm weather brought out the crowd and there was a wait at each scope. ( My personal favorite was a guy's 80mm Lunt double-stack with Denk II bino-viewer; fantastic detail, but just a tad dim).

Entering the main theater there was a note that all presentations were being "professionally recorded" and that by entering you were giving your consent to appearing on TV. The stage area was much more 'pretty' with a giant 'NEAF', a couple of antique scopes, nice curtains, etc. ( I assume that this has some connection with Cosmos and Celestron ).

Personally, I thought that this was the best NEAF of at least the last 6 years or so. This was also my first year attending the imaging conference.

#22 George N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:04 PM

.....
I saw NO new products.....


Really? :question:

I bought an iOptron product that was just announced, examples of their new 60 mount were 'everywhere'. There were a few new offerings by the CCD camera makers, plus the joint Televue/FLI 127mm astrograph. Both Teeter and New Moon were displaying upgraded versions of their premium Dobs. Celestron had an interesting new astrographic camera version of their C-11. There were probably others, but I was mostly interested in mounts, CCD stuff, and Dobs.

I agree that the 'food situation' was poor, but this is the first year in many that I've not brought my own lunch to eat out in the parking lot.

There are new players in charge of NEAF, and while there were 'ups and downs' compared to prior years, I was happy with the event.

#23 Pinbout

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:40 PM

How about a suggestion(s), go back to when it was fun and organized. These guys with their big badges on that they are officials means NOTHING if you can not read there NAMES in small print. Take ownership of the show or there will be few more to come.



well there is no MC anymore that's true, Alan Traino is surely missed in that regard. He has that certain type of personality that is needed to be a figure head of an event like NEAF.

#24 RobTeeter

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:28 PM

I don't know Rodney, leaving on Sunday through the main vendor entrance/exit didn't seem to be any more disorganized than previous years. It's always hectic trying to get 100+ vendors worth of vehicles, trucks, and trailers in that entrance. Unless you do a staggered departure process, you're going to have some type of craziness no matter what. Fortunately, there is that second door that lets you out on the College Road side of the Fieldhouse, so I was able to get out pretty quickly after packing up, as did several other vendors on our side of the floor.

As for vendors breaking down at 2pm...if any did that, it must've only been a handful because no one on our end did that. Even though the show technically closes at 5pm on Sunday, I always consider 3:30/4pm the official start to breaking down. The keynote talk starts around that time, so a lot of people will be leaving the floor and not coming back, which makes it tempting for most vendors to pack and get an early start, which for many, is a long drive.

Honestly - I've thought this the last couple of years - NEAF could really be shrunk down to one day, on Saturday. I'd love to know the breakdown of how many new people come on Sunday who weren't there on Saturday, in terms of attendees. Sunday is such a short day to begin with, considering the 10am opening and 5pm closing (which I just mentioned ends up being more like 3:30/4pm based upon the emptiness of the floor). I don't mind it myself, since fortunately we're so close (only 45 minutes from my shop to the show), but were I flying in or spending hours/days driving in, I might not find Sunday to be worth the effort, especially if it ended up knocking my Monday out too due to the travel time.

To me, there's just not enough going on Sunday since so much appears to be scheduled for Saturday, and the open hours are so short. I heard from a couple people they felt the talk topics on Sunday were poor (not the presentations, but the talks that were saved for Sunday).

At any rate, that's just me. I say keep it two days but let's try something different for Sunday to make it worth while. And please, let's add more kids activities. The assortment was better this year than last, but is still lacking. I know RAC only calls in volunteers to run the kids activities (which at times can be like pulling teeth to get people to help), but it may be time to open up the checkbook and hire a company like Pearl Observatory and their crew to offer a while series of kids science (not just astronomy) programs over the course of both days.

But, to get back on topic, as far as the crowds were...I felt they were down both days too, but not abysmal. It appears that much of the huge crowd for NDT's talk on Saturday didn't flow into the vendor area, so the opportunity to have a large influx of new faces was missed. But, we were busy most of both days in our booth, so it was a productive weekend.

Take care,

#25 rodney

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:31 PM

Hello Rob and all,

Rob, you and Heather had a great display as expected. However, being in the booth at the entrance where the stairs are we saw first hand the lack of flow. In the past years we saw hundreds charging down those stairs. This year it was a trickle.

Combined with April 15th being tax day, spring break and the Saturday food line past the Sky & Telescope display was ridiculous.

My point being is there is no longer a point person to go to when things go haywire. The setup was better than last year, but the complete lack of official NEAF folks was dismal.

Setting up a show to only promote one's own pursuits is futile. This was the first year my 8 year old daughter was there and she was looking forward to the Birds of Prey display that I have talked about for years. In my opinion this show is about promoting the hobby. And there was zero promotion in the past two years.

I spoke with high end vendors Sunday and they were not pleased with the turn out. Sales down, customer flow down. Same faces every year do not produce any new business or profitable business.

The FUN of the show has vanished, as did anyone responsible. One more year, maybe.

Clear skies,


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