By David Kanally
If the annual Trophy meet is the ABS's national convention, then Mini Meets are our local family gatherings. This year's Texas Mini Meet, held in the Dallas area, brought together eight families from the Texas area for a weekend of showing and driving their Austins and Bantams. More importantly, the small-scale gathering gave everyone time to get to know one another a little better. If there are even a few ABS members in your region, consider organizing a Mini Meet to get the "family" together.
The Mini Meet host had reserved a block of rooms at a mid-priced suite hotel with full amenities. They used their own suite as a hospitality suite, inviting the other attendees for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. In this case, 15 people showed up, and the mood was lively! The group decided on the spot to have dinner together at the Gaylord Texan, a nearby convention hotel with lots to see and do.
The hosts had agreed with the Merchants' Association of Old
Downtown Carrollton that they would block off a section of their town
square's parking area for displaying the cars. The Association also
arranged for a press release, written by the host, to be placed in the
local paper to generate traffic to the event. Members had the use of
the square's gazebo to set up coffee and donuts, and (had it been needed) to
seek shade from the heat (as it worked out the group sat in the sun, since the
temperature never got above 70). Lots of folks came to look at the little cars,
most of them learning about Austins and Bantams for the first time. There
was even a family from Butler PA that had lived in Texas for more than 30
years who came by to check out the display.
The group had dinner at a local restaurant, pre-arranged by the host. The restaurant was glad to see a big group, and provided excellent service.
The host had worked with the recreation and parks department of
a lakeside community to organize a drive through the park's roads and along
residential streets. The drive allowed the members to drive in safety and
without the pressure of faster traffic. The lakeside views were beautiful,
although the north wind was a bit brisk for the open roadsters! The drive also
featured a photo op with the cars in a period setting. They used the town of
Grapevine's old train station area which has a period home and an old blacksmith
shop as backgrounds for the photos. Following the ride, the group had lunch in
a local sandwich shop and then made their way home.
More than one of the attendees commented on how a Mini Meet allows you to get to know your fellow ABS members better, simply because you have more time with each person that you do at a larger Trophy Meet. The organization part is not difficult, and the benefits are great. Why not hold a Mini Meet in your area. It could be smaller or larger than the Texas Meet. There have been very successful Mini Meets with just three or four members meeting at one member's home and driving on back roads in the area. Why not give it a try?