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Question Of The Week

Event Boondocking Ideas From Readers

Our Question of the Week this week was, “Have you ever camped at an outdoor event?”.  Fifteen readers shared their experiences camping at events.


“We have gone to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  It’s an annual balloon festival that launches hundreds of balloons from the Rio Grande Valley in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  There is boondocking at the Sandia Casino for free.  The casino provides space for RVs and provides a cheap shuttle to the balloon grounds for special events.” – Larry Routt, 2005 Ford F-350, 2004 Lance 820

“Has anyone gone to Calgary Stampede?  It’s a great show!  If you go to Airdrie, which is a town just north of Calgary, you can see the cowboys and cowgirls practice all week before the show.  You camp in the field with them and their rigs for free.

My daughter and I watched them practice on Friday.  Then we saw their show on Saturday until the fireworks.  Did I say free?  We also got to talk to the rodeo people and the clowns.  What a fun time.

It was also a great time to try out our solar panels and generator.  When we needed water for the camper, we went to the fire house and filled our tanks and dumped there for free.  It’s a great trip and event for a truck camper.” – Neil Steirer, 2008 Ford F350, 2008 Lance 1181

“We attend antique steam and gas engine shows that are more than just old iron.  They have activities for everyone in the family.  There is everything one can think of from small gas engines, to large steam engines, and all sorts of old time activities including black smithing, sawing of lumber, shingle mills, antique tractor pulls, and flea markets.  For ladies making quilts, there is wool being spun into yarn and a collection of things made over the past 150 years.

Being a family event, there are usually non-profit groups selling food and refreshments on the grounds.  There is entertainment day and evening to relax with when you need to take a break.

We bring a golf cart and generator since we camp where the trucks and trailers are parked.  Most shows have organized camping areas with no hook-ups, but parking out in the truck area insures peace and quiet at night.

Over the years, I also have taken my blacksmith gear and worked in the blacksmith shop at the shows.  There are literately hundreds of shows across America which can be found on the web by state.  We attend The Central States Thrashers Reunion in Pontiac, Illinois over Labor Day weekend, which is the second oldest show in America.  It’s two miles off I-55 on Route 23, exit 201.” – Gary Gade, 2011 Ford F-350, 2014 Lance 1181


“We go to N-SSA National Matches, Camp Grayling Historic Artillery Match, various Civil War reenactments and living histories, and various Moto Guzzi motorcycle rallies.

At N-SSA, the camping is free for members and guests.  At Camp Grayling, there is boondocking.  At the living histories, there is boondocking in the reenactor parking area.  Motorcycle rallies are usually held at some kind of campground, and there are fees are for the campsite, plus rally activities vary.” – John Wells, 2011 Chevy Duramax 3500, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F

“We stay at airshows. We will be staying at the Sun and Fun Airshow in Lakeland, Florida at the beginning of April.  There’s nothing like taking in all the sights of the day’s events and then heading back to the truck camper for meals and sleeping without going anywhere.  We are dry camping there for a week.

The airshow is the second largest airshow in the United States.  It sponsored by the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and showcases the latest in aviation technology.  There are numerous aviation exhibitors from around the USA that attend.  The US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team, The Blue Angels perform throughout the week as well.

The event is at the Lakeland Linder Airport in Lakeland, Florida.  There is paid camping with membership to the Florida Air Museum”.  – Mark and Janice Mudgett, 2006 Ford F-350, 2013 Eagle Cap 1160

“We go to the US Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.  I paid $1,070 for four nights for four general admission tickets – Ouch!” – Simon Carlton, 2004 Ford F350, 2009 Snowriver 9’6

“We go to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri, the National Traditional Country Music Association (NTCMA) festival in LeMars, Iowa, the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kansas, and Thresher’s Reunion and Steam Engine Show, in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

State fair and music festivals are self-explanatory. The NCTMA festival is a smaller venue but has great entertainers from all around.  They will also have some big name people, such as LuLu Roman, Barbara Fairchild, Bill Anderson, High Road, etc.  Attendees are always welcome to join in on jam sessions, too.

The Threshers Reunion has things for all ages and interests.  They also have musical entertainment (Oak Ridge Boys, Statlers, etc).  There are craft booths as well as a huge assortment of steam engines and antique tractors.

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