By Dan Shea
Every Spring and Fall there is a massive gathering of the “Gun Culture” at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona California. This has been going on for over thirty years now, and it is not an experience to be missed.
Essentially, there are seven buildings full of tables- and tables are spread out in between the buildings out in the California sunshine as well. This amounts to between 5300 and 5600 8 foot tables, which works out to around 8 miles of tables! There is a somewhat chaotic quality to the show, because of its shear massiveness, and the fact that it is not all gun related. There are a certain amount of “Flea market” type tables present, but the vast majority are of interest to many of us.
One of the highlights of the show is the contest for the best costume. As you wander through the show, you are apt to meet anyone from Marshall Dillon to a squad of World War II British soldiers; a Russian general, a fantasy warrior, conquistadors, Indian scouts, German paratroopers- the list goes on. It’s people having fun with their hobbies- and getting to show off their collections and uniforms is part of that fun.
This is a good show for machine gunners, even though California has very restrictive gun laws. Beta C-mags abound, as do all sorts of rare parts. I was amazed years ago when I first wandered through the Great Western, and felt like I was at a Knob Creek re-union. Many well-known class 3 people are there, either with tables, or wandering around looking for parts.
All things considered, this is a great show. Bands like the Shirelles and the Box Tops frequently play in the main areas, good fair type food is readily available, and there are three solid days to wander through the seven buildings. It is an exhausting show to do, and you have to be very careful what items you bring because of the California laws, but dealers get an extra day to set up, so it is a four day gun festival. The tens of thousands of people that come through the show have a diversity of interests, but that one thing in common- we are all gun people!
SAR sets up in building 6, in the back area. See us there in the Spring and the Fall!
October 30,31, November 1 1998 (Dealer setup is on Thursday October 29) this is one of the 5600 table shows.
December 11, 12, 13 1998 (3000 table show)
April 30, May 1, 2 1999 (5600 table show)
Friday 12 noon to 8 pm
Saturday 9 am to 8 pm
Sunday 9 am to 5 pm
Admission is $7 adult, $1.50 child under 12
Show location: The Los Angeles County Fairground is the “Fairplex” where the 210 and the 10 meet in Pomona. There are a number of ways of getting there, but the best is to get onto White Avenue off of McKinley Ave, and go to Gate 14 for parking. Parking is $4 for regular, $6 for preferred (Which gets you closer to the show).
Great Western Shows Inc
PO Box 65
N. Hollywood, CA 91603
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N1 (October 1998)|