What is an Open House at a Vintage Camper Rally?


Vintage Trailer Open Houses

At trailer rallies there are often an open house of the Vintage Travel Trailers. This is a chance for the public to see how these vintage working trailers have been restored by their current owners and tour through each of them. It’s also an opportunity for the owner to show off their hard work.

Visitors talking to owners at a Tin Can Tourists vintage trailer rally

What do you need to know about a Vintage Camper Open House

It can be great fun and a wonderful learning opportunity if your interested in:

  • learning about the Vintage Trailer hobby
  • thinking about bringing your own trailer to a rally
  • considering buying a trailer and checking out different brands, different sizes, different layouts, different decades, etc.
  • wanting to get ideas on decorating
  • making contacts with others in the hobby
  • joining a club and learning about their rally schedule
  • asking any questions you might have
  • taking pictures of beautifully restored campers that are completely decorated and picture ready
Julie Theroux, of Framingham, Mass., stands inside her 1964 Aladdin at the Brattleboro North KOA Campground

How to approach a Vintage Camper Open House

Things to remember when coming to an open house and touring trailers:

  • plan to spend a lot of time as there maybe hundreds of vintage trailers and campers
  • wear comfortable shoes and plan on lots of walking, campsites can be spread out a bit and you may need to walk a long distance to see them all
  • look for a display plaque or picture book that some owners provide that will answer many of the easy questions – year, make, model, owner and some basic information. This will save the owner from repeating the same information to thousands of visitors
  • Always ask the owner if you can look inside even if the door is open, this is just being respectful and it’s a great way to start a conversation with the owner
  • On the other hand, if the door is closed or there is a barrier at the door – please respect the owners decision to not show their trailer, take a break to eat lunch, go for a walk, etc.
  • don’t open drawers, closets, sit on couches or beds,  etc. The trailer is not just for show but rather is someones home and being used.
  • if there is a couple or people in the trailer, then wait your turn outside. Trailers are small in size and not made for 10 people to jam in at a time. Don’t turn someones vintage trailer into a clown car.
  • keep pets outside and keep kids at your side (it’s not their little playhouse even if it looks like it)
Beautiful woodwork and colors

Vintage trailer owners can have a love hate relationship with open houses. They love showing their trailer off but all of that can be ruined by someone that disrespects their prized possession. Take the time to understand what an open house is and how to be the best visitor possible so both sides benefit from the experience.

After this post was published, we were sent this by email and thought it was a great addition:

SURVIVING A VINTAGE TRAILER RALLY OPEN HOUSE

By Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine

If you own a vintage trailer, chances are you attend vintage trailer rallies. A rally is a fun place to meet up with like mined restorers and collectors. Many times a rally will have an “open house”. Trailerfest rallies are open to the public from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays. The public is encouraged to walk through the campground, chat with the trailer owners and admire the labors of love displayed with all of the preriod gear. It is a good time for all but after doing dozens a year we have a few tips to make sure you don’t get burned out when sharing your trailer with the public.

  1. Limit Accessibility. A trailer show does not require that you let every person attending walk into your trailer. High impact shows with a lot of foot traffic can be more wear and tear than a 75-year-old trailer can take. We use a spring-loaded curtain rod across the doorway so people can peak in, but not walk in. (You don’t sit in every car at a car show.) At the Hot August Nights car/trailer show we saw 1,000’s of people over four days of open houses! (This year we are only doing open house on Friday evening and Saturday at HAN). Our trailer has two doors so people can walk through. If your trailer only has one door you will have a bottleneck of people coming and going all day.
  2. Provide Signage. A four-hour open house can have you repeating the basic information about your trailer dozens of times. A sign with the year, make, model, length, weight, special features etc. will prevent you from repeating yourself so many times. You can include your name and where you are from along with fun facts about the trailer or the time period that it was built. This makes the day much more enjoyable for everyone. The event attendees get the information they are after and you save your voice!
  3. Creature Comforts. Even if you don’t have A/C, a cool vintage fan can help circulate air inside or outside of the trailer. Many of the rallies like Glamperfest and others, are held at campgrounds that have electricity available for appliances, music players and refrigerators. This will help you keep a supply of snacks and beverages cool so you are comfortable for the entire weekend. Field camping on the other hand, in parks etc., may require you to “boondock”. (Camp without amenities like electricity.) Several of the rallies in Oregon, like the All-American Rally and the Rally on the River, provide generators so the trailers can enjoy some basic luxuries. Even the HAN Trailer Revival Show in Reno, NV will be providing electrical service this year for the trailers.
  4. Give Yourself a Break. Chances are you came to the rally with someone else. Divide and conquer. Schedule times that you trade off being at your trailer. Take a half hour to go look at other trailers, get some food or just use the restroom. Walking away for a minute will help revitalize you.

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