Emily White-Gartrell sent an email about the success of her October show in Crocker, MO saying, "for a first-time show – I think I did darn good!" She added that she learned the following: use free advertisement when available, see who has the largest circulation for advertisement purposes, have someone "do the tents," and have a good time.
As a publisher, here are my comments on advertising: Using free advertising usually means getting a story in somewhere about your show, that means have a good, complete press release about the show — something a lot of show promoters don't put a lot of time in. A basic press release should have the WHO is doing the show, WHAT is the show about (i.e. number of dealers, focus, etc.), WHY have the show, WHERE it's being held (including admission cost, days/hours, parking, etc.) and some good quotes from the organizer(s) about why people should come. Do that, and a good journalist has it easy to fill in some added info.
Circulation is a double-edge sword, depending upon the advertising budget. Large circulation newspapers charge for ads based on their circulation, and newspaper are "general interest," meaning MOST readers will not be interested in your antique show. Trade or specialty publications like DMA have smaller circulations than daily or weekly newspapers but their readership is interested in what is advertised...the ad dollars are more apt to hit their target, so to speak. The same argument can be made about TV and radio advertising, unless you advertise on programs with an audience with the same interest as what you are promoting. Perhaps the best targetted advertising next to specialty/trade publications is online at web sites with information that mirror the reasons you're holding your event.
If you advertise by numbers alone, you may be wasting money.