After a delicious breakfast at Northside Kitchenette, The Data Viking, Tam and I went to the Indy 1500 Gun (and Knife) Show yesterday. The State Fairgrounds were busy with multiple events including a huge RV Show. It was a miserably rainy day and between the three of us, there's a badly broken (and badly rehealed) ankle, a pair of shins rebuilt with titanium and stainless, and a once-broken knee that is slowly unwinding the cartilage from the upper hearing surfaces of the joint.
So of course we were directed to park halfway across the sprawling fairgrounds from the event venue, despite having a blue-spaces placard borrowed from one of our vehicles* and pointing it out. There were no shuttle buses running through the race-track infield where they put us, and there was puddle between us and the pedestrian underpass, a wide, long and in places deep pool of water. We limped our way to the best place to cross, and wended down and through the low-ceilinged, dank tunnel under the track before walking a couple of blocks to the show.
The show was...crowded. The firearms selection was pretty good but had nothing really outstanding; the prices for things I'm interested in (an S&W Bekeart .22 target revolver or one of the models that followed right after) were pretty high.
The main booksellers vanished several shows ago; they'd been struggling with a bad vehicle and worse health and we figure they set up shop wherever they were or wherever they could get to when life on the road became too much. Their main foes -- literal foes, the show had to keep them at opposite ends of the very large building and there were still occasional arguments -- had dropped out even earlier. There are a few other booksellers who show up at every second or third show, and they weren't at this one. The usual tool guys were nowhere in evidence. One has been headed that way, selling off what appeared to be the lighter contents of Grandpa's machine shop, four table-loads at a time, an endeavor with a definite end point. The other one is a perennial, with a decent mixture of industrial surplus, sorted garage-sale finds and Chinsesium; I don't know why he wasn't there, but his usual tables, backed up to a guy who sells chemistry glassware and related items, were empty. There was one guy doing knife sharpening and he was pretty busy, so I skipped it; time to get out the coarse stone and diamond hones and sharpen my pocketknife myself.
Yes, I do realize that I go to gun shows and look for things other than guns. There were a lot of knife sellers at this one, including some very high-end stuff, both "big name" makes and craftspeople selling their own wares.
Some of our Usual Suspects were there, too -- the guy selling Cold War surplus and offering free anti-semitism with every sale and the fireworks guy with "cute" (not at all) names for his products that harken back to the worst crimes of the WW II Axis powers. It's convenient of 'em to hang it right out there; the First Amendment protects them but I wouldn't buy gold bars from either one even if they were selling them twelve for a dime.
On the other hand, the local chapter of the National African-American Gun Association had well-staffed table with a nice display behind it and were running a raffle. The local chapter is the Indy Red Tails Gun Club, named after the distinctive paint job of the Mustangs flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. It was good to see them there; there's always a contingent of serious African-American hunters at the show and the usual young men one sees at the 1500 includes young men of color in demographic proportion, but this level of organization is relatively new and I'm happy to see wider Second Amendment support.
I don't know if it's the Fairgrounds or the 1500, but increasingly, they set up very narrow aisles between the rows of tables in both sides of the building (with one wide aisle in the center of the larger side), and then leave a big empty space at the far end. For me, this resulted in skipping a couple of aisles altogether: the crowd was at a standstill and there was no way through. They need to either institute one-way aisles (good luck with that!) or make them wider.
At the end, the Data Viking and I both bought nothing. Tam picked up some ammo and we headed back to Roseholme Cottage, where DV and I watched a couple of episodes of The Expanse while Tam went to the range. Later, her friend Shootin' Buddy stopped by and we all had a nice early supper at Marco's.
Not a bad way to spend a gray, rainy day.
* I'm not saying whose it was, but all three of us qualify. Usually, we'd rather leave those spots for people having a much harder time of it, but the Fairgrounds are huge and the parking staff is always overworked; they need to get you to a spot ASAP, so they can get the five hundred or more people behind you into parking spots, too. If it's a long way away from the event you're attending, oh well. There are usually shuttles but they were so busy we only saw one the entire time we were outside the show -- and the posted route didn't include the infield parking area. It's not badly run but really busy days tend to almost overwhelm the staff; they're always friendly but they have no time to sort anyone out.
6 months ago