After speaking with several folks at York (and reading posts on OGR) regarding the meet schedule, dealer participation, public attendance, etc., it got me to thinking about the Allentown meet.  Many people speak highly of the Allentown meet, so I have some questions.  I've never been, as it's too far to drive just a few weeks after York, and the weather can be very uncertain at that time of year, so I'm asking the following questions sincerely - I'm not trying to stir the pot.

I understand that Allentown is not a TCA event, so of course the rules will be different, and I'm very well-versed regarding the tax situation at York and how it affects admitting the public.  No need to rehash it here.

Does Allentown have a lot of operating layouts or other family-oriented activities?

Do a lot of private individuals have tables at Allentown, or is it primarily dealers?

How early do vendors start packing up to leave?

Are non-dealer tableholders subject to the same sales tax filing requirements as dealers? And if not, why not, since it's in the same state as York?

Please keep the replies factual, and save the TCA/ED bashing, complaints about the PA tax authorities, debate about admitting the public, and political statements for another time.

Thanks.

Original Post

I like an enjoy both shows, but they are very different.  Personally, I look forward to Allentown more.  York is great, but it can seem overwhelming at times.  

"Does Allentown have a lot of operating layouts or other family-oriented activities?"  I would say for the size of the event, Yes.  There are usually at least two O gauge layouts, as well as a few HO and N.   There are also train races for the kids.  That is fun.  If your spouse is not into trains, there is a farmers market across the street that could keep her busy for hours.

"Do a lot of private individuals have tables at Allentown, or is it primarily dealers?"  I'd say it was a nice mix.  Although I might guess more dealers.  Other may have a better fact based answer.  

"How early do vendors start packing up to leave?"  I typically go on Saturday, but I have gone on Sunday's in the past.  I do not recall too many people packing up early.  Maybe they start around 2pm.  Good deals to be had at that time too.

"Are non-dealer tableholders subject to the same sales tax filing requirements as dealers? And if not, why not, since it's in the same state as York?"  I have no knowledge on this subject.

Like I said, the two shows are very different.  That does not really make one better than the other.  This will be my 15th year of going to Allentown.  I go to both Spring and Fall shows.  I seem to recall the early years being better, but my judgement may be clouded from when I was newer to the hobby, a little more excited and not knowing what to expect.  

Not sure what direction you are traveling, but for west departures from Allentown there is a great restaurant in Kutztown call Vallantino's.  There is also a very nice train ride at the Allentown & Auburn Railroad.

Have Fun!

Ron

"I'd rather be lucky than good"

Personally, I find the Allentown meet more manageable.  I've only been to York a few times.  I find it overwhelming.  Too much to sort through in one day.  

Allentown's meet is by comparison much easier to navigate.  It's all in one building.  The aisles seem to be a bit wider.  I usually make a first pass, then my second go-round is more slowly.  By my third trip through the hall, I am able to spot what interests me and start asking questions.  Finally, I make one more pass and do the deed $$$$$.  

My last Allentown meet was last Fall.  I don't recall anyone charging tax.  Of course the purchases I made were from private table holders.  

Yes, there are operating layouts.

I usually leave well before the bell sounds at the end of the day so cannot answer your question about how early the vendors leave.  It is a two day event, so I would imagine that on Sunday afternoon everyone has had their fill of selling and buying.  In other meets I used to attend forty odd years ago, many vendors packed up early in the afternoon.  Those meets were Gilbertsville, New Hope and many smaller meets that don't exist now.  

 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

I've been going to the Allentown show for years. My drive is a little over an hour, mainly on the PA turnpike's northern route. "Early entry" tickets are sold ahead of the show for Saturday, allowing ticket holders to enter at 8 am rather than 9.So, from 8 to 9, the crowds are not too bad. By 9:30, the place starts getting mobbed. I have never attended on Sunday, so I can't comment on that. 

Since I don't buy much train stuff any more, the main attraction for me is the pre-show breakfast near the show, which is attended by 15-20 OGR forum members. This starts at 6:30am to 7 or so. "Early" tickets, for $8., can be bought at this breakfast (they cannot be bought at the "window"). Wife and kids are welcome at breakfast. 

There are usually at least one large modular layout at the show. For the wife, a very large enclosed "farmers marker" just steps from the train show. I will let others describe the show. Personally, I think it is worth up to a 2-hour drive (at breakfast, NYC, NJ, and VA have shown up).

Thanks for the replies.

Still hoping to hear something definitive regarding how non-dealer tableholders deal with the sales tax issue, since that seems to be a big sticking point regarding York.  Is York being selectively enforced, or do private individuals at Allentown go ahead and fill out the paperwork?

In the state where I live, the tax authorities don't mess with private individuals who might sell a few thousand dollars worth of used stuff at swap meets a couple times a year - it's just not worth their time to pursue it unless someone is blatantly abusing it.  I consider myself fortunate.

Ron045 posted:

Just in case you have not reviewed the web site...

https://allentowntrainmeet.com/

Ron

 

The PDF on that site finally loaded; I see that it asks for each tableholder's PA tax number, so I guess that non-dealers must be willing to submit the paperwork.  Since this is frequently cited as something that would scare the "little guys" away from York, I find this interesting.  Thanks.

Allentown is a very good show and quite large. If you go on Saturday, the farmer's market in the same parking lot is open, it is closed on Sunday. That also is very large. Saturday is a very busy day at the show while Sunday is well attended, it is a little easier to navigate the show.

Many dealers and many private folks selling at Allentown. Never been to it, it is worth the drive from one state to the next state.

Ted Bertiger, President

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders Lakewood, N.J.

www.ocsmr.com

 

Mallard4468 posted:

Thanks for the replies.

Still hoping to hear something definitive regarding how non-dealer tableholders deal with the sales tax issue, since that seems to be a big sticking point regarding York.  Is York being selectively enforced, or do private individuals at Allentown go ahead and fill out the paperwork?

In the state where I live, the tax authorities don't mess with private individuals who might sell a few thousand dollars worth of used stuff at swap meets a couple times a year - it's just not worth their time to pursue it unless someone is blatantly abusing it.  I consider myself fortunate.

Why is the tax issue and issue with you ?   

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

I'm not sure why tax would be an issue, unless you were selling. Rest assured, all people selling at this show are supposed to collect, or at least forward, the PA state sales tax...and buyers should expect to pay it. There are no "non dealers" at this show, because membership in TCA is not a requirement to get in the door. If this is such a big deal, don't attend.

Dan Padova posted:
Mallard4468 posted:

Thanks for the replies.

Still hoping to hear something definitive regarding how non-dealer tableholders deal with the sales tax issue, since that seems to be a big sticking point regarding York.  Is York being selectively enforced, or do private individuals at Allentown go ahead and fill out the paperwork?

In the state where I live, the tax authorities don't mess with private individuals who might sell a few thousand dollars worth of used stuff at swap meets a couple times a year - it's just not worth their time to pursue it unless someone is blatantly abusing it.  I consider myself fortunate.

Why is the tax issue and issue with you ?   

I don't understand this question; sales tax is not an issue with me, and I didn't say that it was.  I don't sell at meets, but I know that it's a big issue with a lot of people who attend York.  The reason for my original post was to learn whether or not non-dealer sellers at Allentown need to collect sales tax (turns out that it is) and if it seemed to be an impediment to those folks (apparently it's not).  

If I did set up at meets to sell my excess stuff, I wouldn't want to mess around with the additional paperwork, and in my state, I wouldn't have to.  But that's a moot point.

O-gauger posted:

I'm going to the show!! Breakfast just a little too early for me as I'm an hour away. 

I'm 50 minutes from the Hamilton Diner, but I manage to make the early breakfast.  I can drive in the dark!

Allentown is the second best show imho than york. I travel an hour and a half to get to. All things considered, I believe it has the Greenberg show beat by far. Allentown is one of the few good train shows left. New. Old, parts, vendors like Nicholas smith, grybowski, and Charles ro. Usually attend, its worth the drive to me, and judging from the last show..the lines were extremely long, longest in a while. And the kids do love the train races.

 

Jsulli21 posted:

Allentown is the second best show imho than york. I travel an hour and a half to get to. All things considered, I believe it has the Greenberg show beat by far. Allentown is one of the few good train shows left. New. Old, parts, vendors like Nicholas smith, grybowski, and Charles ro. Usually attend, its worth the drive to me, and judging from the last show..the lines were extremely long, longest in a while. And the kids do love the train races.

 

I've possibly missed a year or so at Allentown, but hasn't it been quite a few years since Charles Ro attended? 

I recall years ago him being on the back wall (between food vendor on one corner and bathrooms in the other corner), but that was quite a while ago.  The display layouts and train races seem to be in that area in more recent memory.

Everything else I agree with.   I only live an easy hours drive away, so it's easily worth it for me.  I've definitely seen people from much farther away attending though.  If I'm not mistaken, I think I've regularly seen a few of the guys from the NJ High Railers in past years.

-Dave

eddie g posted:

How can you compare York with Allentown?

Eddie,

We all understand how you feel and we feel about York. York is much larger and not to be missed. Allentown is next best show in the area. You know there is a person on the forum that posts all his negative BS about York and TCA, you would not want him to crawl out of his rock, would you? LOL!

These are the 2 best shows in the Pa. area.

Ted Bertiger, President

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders Lakewood, N.J.

www.ocsmr.com

 

I would say that York is the odd show out as it takes advantage of the PA Sales Tax "loophole" allowing members to sell to other members with out needing to have a PA Tax Certificate or collect and send in PA sales tax.

I presume Allentown follows the traditional route where everyone selling, whether a "dealer organization" or a "private individual" must have a PA Tax Certificate and collect and send in PA sales tax. Whether the tax is included in the "price" or added on depends upon the seller.

romiller49 posted:

My only problem with Allentown is not enough tables to sit and have lunch. It’s a big show and we do get tired and would like a place to sit, relax and eat. 

An alternative on Saturday is to walk 75 yds to the Amish Farmers Market. There are some places serving meals, with places to sit.

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