If you can turn your visit into a long weekend break and actually spend time in and around York it will be even more enjoyable. We go to York on Friday and leave Monday morning so the actual fair is only part of one day during a lovely weekend break. York and its environs has a ton of things to see and do so every show you can find something different to occupy your time. It is also is home to my absolute favourite eatery on the planet. Not posh but the best Sicilian food ever - arancini to die for.
The fair housed eighty vendors with a wide range of products. It will cover your 1/12th hobby ten-fold but there is also a decent amount of quarter scale to go at with large vendors like Petite properties but also others selling quite a lot of their things in mixed scales. Anyone new to the game will be utterly thrilled with the size and variety of the show and will be able to get pretty much everything they need to be able to crack on with their build.
There were two workshops at this show - I wish we did more of those at all shows here in the UK. This is one thing the American shows do 'big time', indeed they can start a week before the show - take a look at Tom Bishop's shows for example. I wonder if we could rouse that enthusiasm here? In the morning the Miniature Needlework Society did a workshop on pattern darning technique. I sort of intended to do that one but arrived a nano-second too late - they were 'full'. Don't leave it until the start time in case it is going to be a popular one. The afternoon workshop was making a basque on a display mannequin with Hazel Dowd's Little people.
Even if these classes aren't making something useful to your current project you will certainly acquire or improve skills you can use in another way.
Jane Harrop always gives a free talk around half two (just when you really need a sit-down!!) These are worth the entry price in themselves.
York always has a good turn out of customers and this was no exception. The weather was sunny and there seemed to be more than usual bodies filling the halls. I think all shows are 'shrinking' in terms of vendors - this one had ninety plus vendors two years ago and now eighty...... but the customer base seems to be there. Indeed with less shows around there may be pretty much the same number having to travel further for a show but therefore increasing the number of buyers at each show (????) I am sure we all prefer touchy-feely to buying on the internet if we can get to the goods. Even if I can't afford to buy everything I'd like at a show it gives me a chance to suss out the vendors I will buy things from between shows when my pennies allow. So these events do act as a showcase as well as a purchasing fair for vendors. This is their shop window.
Even with a lot of buyers the York fair doesn't seem overcrowded like some shows can be. You can usually get to see what you want easily and move around with some breathing space. It is spread out over three floors so you can always find places to sit down with a drink or your shopping list.
There is a main restaurant right alongside the show - very handy - the food is OK and not expensive so no need to leave the show if you like to take a proper break and get something to eat.
York is easy to get to by road or rail and the venue is easy to find as it is held at York race course. There are a ton of places to stay immediately around it if you want to make a short break of it.
Parking at the course is fine, and even better if your 'driver' drops you off as mine does. Unless you really must be the first person over the threshold and you arrive early, just sit in the car until the show opens. There is always a very long queue outside the building (which then moves very slowly!) and, unless the weather is perfect, that's not a fun way to start the day. I buy the preview ticket which lets you in half an hour before the pay-on-the-day folks.
One caveat, and it applies to several shows, the phone reception is almost non-existent deep inside the building so you need to make some clear arrangements (not phone dependent) with anyone who is not at the show with you.
Apologies for no photos this trip - I will contact the magazine and see if they have a press release I can scrounge.
If you want to see what I bought go to my (click here for link) Dalton House blog.