Thank you, everyone. After doing my due diligence (online research, number crunching, and balancing that with my reasons for going), I have decided to skip the LA Pen Show in February.
From what I've gathered, I can either go cheap -- $8 Sunday show ticket & $25 parking -- and have the same rotten experience I had five or six years ago.
Or I can pay the $55 ($65 Jan 15 or later) plus $25 parking and attend on Saturday.
The best experience would be getting a hotel room Friday night (an additional $190 -- room & taxes), plus valet parking $29 (x two days?) and wake refreshed for a Saturday pen experience.
If I had "real life" fountain pen friends and was making a social experience out of the event, I'd certainly go for the latter as it does sound like it could be a fun time of socializing with old friends. And I hope that all of you who've gone will continue to go and have fun. And, if possible, make a few suggestions to make future years more enticing to newcomers and longtime regulars alike.
My guess is that the pen show is being put on by the same group of old stodgy old fogies who are set in their ways. (I'm 60 and most of my friends are older, so I know how we old fogies can be.) They probably say to themselves, "this is how we've always done it and it's always worked so why change it?" That's fine. It's their show. Let's just hope that it doesn't lead to the extinction of the LA Pen Show after they are gone.
In addition to the complaints about Sunday crowds, I've also read that some vendors pack up early on Sunday to catch flights and avoid an additional night hotel stay. It seems to me that having the biggest day be on Sunday is a lose-lose proposition for both buyers and sellers.
Another complaint I came across is that the LA Pen Show organizers take only checks for registration. Checks??? I haven't owned a checkbook in years. Someone needs to help the organizers set up a PayPal account so people can use credit and debit cards to pay for registration.
And while they are at it, maybe they can get someone to fix the website. There are images covering text. What good is it to have a website if it can't be read?