I have been fortunate enough to attend two fanfests in my life; Philadelphia in 1996 and San Francisco in 2007. The exclusive card sets offered at each fanfest were markedly different.
In 1996, if you bought 5 packs of cards from a company, you turned in the wrappers to get one of a five card tribute set for a certain player (in 1996, it was Steve Carlton; I'm still trying to locate them all). This practice lasted until the 2000 Fanfest if I'm not mistaken. There was also a 30 card Pinnacle set (remember them?) which was given out in 2 card packs with every ticket to get in. I am still pursuing that set.
In 2007, Topps and Upper Deck ran separate redemption programs. For Topps, 3 packs of cards got you one of seven redemption cards. The catch was there was only 250 of each card available for each day. For Upper Deck, 10 wrappers (if I recall correctly), got you a 6 card pack of either rookies or stars, depending on the day. So, if you only went one day, you couldn't complete the whole set without outside help.
During the all-star break, I will share the images of these hard-won redemptions. But first, a favorite set...this one was from the 1997 Fanfest in Cleveland. As part of the MLB retiring of Jackie Robinson's number on the 50th anniversary of his debut, the card companies followed suit with their own tribute. I purchased this some time ago because it's not every day you get the chance for five Jackie Robinson cards.
1. The Pinnacle/Score tribute card. (Too much foil for proper scanning)
2. The Topps card in the style of 1952 Topps with complete career stats on the back.
3. The standard (at the time) Upper Deck tribute card.
4. The Leaf/Donruss card in the style of 1949 Leaf (picture the size of 2007 Goudey)
5. The Fleer card in the style of 1997 Ultra
Other years of tributes followed similar formats. Anyone know since it was in Cleveland in 1997 if Larry Doby had a card that year?
If you have a chance, check out a Fanfest; it's way more than a card show, that is the smallest part.