Go Big and Leave Home

It’s time to plan a road trip. Spring is finally here, and you deserve a break. There are some stellar events coming up in April that are sure to appeal to anyone needing parts for a project or just looking for a great event with like-minded hobbyists. Two of the year’s biggest swap meets arrive this month—one relatively new show is a first-class event, and another celebrates a truck brand that you just don’t see often enough.

Enjoy April, and if there’s a May show you’d like to see covered here, leave a comment and I’ll look into it.

Marina, California

It’s rare that a show only in its second year comes across like one that’s been around for a quarter-century, but that’s exactly what the Marina Rotary Foundation has accomplished with Cars in the Park. Located in one of California’s most scenic regions, just follow Rt. 1 and you’ll agree that getting to the show is a big part of its charm.

The 2nd Annual Cars in the Park will be held on April 1 at Vince Dimaggio Park (3200 Del Monte Blvd., Marina, CA 93933) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show is open to all foreign or domestic vehicles from 1976 and earlier. Your $50 entry fee includes free coffee and donuts at check-in, an entry into the merchandise raffle, two barbecue lunches and two root beer floats, and a special exit gift. (Last year, the exit gift was a bottle of wine.)

Special features of the show will keep the whole family busy all day. The Boy Scouts will hold a pinewood derby, and in the same vein, there will be valve cover races. Yep, make racers out of old valve covers and enter the competition. There will be a DJ, food trucks, 50/50 drawing, and a silent auction. In addition to 60 merchant awards for participating vehicles, special awards include the President’s Choice, Peers’ Choice, Best of Show, Mayor’s Choice, Rotarian Award, Long Distance Award, and the Club Participation Award.

It’s safe to say that the Marina Rotary Foundation puts on a show worthy of your spring break road trip.

For more information, go to: Cars in the Park

All makes and models from 1976 and earlier are welcome at the show in Marina.

All makes and models from 1976 and earlier are welcome at the show in Marina.

Sevierville, Tennessee

International fans are in for a treat the weekend of April 7-9. The Sevier County Antique Tractor and Engine Group is hosting the International Truck/Tractor Show and Swap Meet at the Sevier County Fairgrounds (754 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN 37862). The club describes itself as an “antique and vintage tractor and hit-and-miss engine” group. So why include this show? Because all International trucks are welcome, too. And a trip to Sevierville is never a bad idea; it’s located in the eastern portion of the state near Pigeon Forge. The Smoky Mountains are gorgeous any time of the year.

This will be the fourth year the club has hosted this spring event, and according to show organizer Mark Meyers, the event kicks off the show season.

“The crowd gets bigger every year,” Meyers said. “It’s the first show of the year around here, and everyone has a touch of cabin fever. We have a two-day tractor pull on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and Sunday afternoon is all about the kids.”

The show started because a special little boy, Christopher Mason, was born with cancer. He just had his fifth birthday, and is an absolute inspiration to the club members. Special needs kids from several area homes are brought to the show and treated to an afternoon of learning all about tractors, engines, and their history. The kids even learn how operators drive tractors. “The club members and other volunteers come out and just show these kids everything about how the tractors and engines run,” Meyers said. “They light up when the engine starts.”

The show is free, but there is a $25 charge for all vendors.

“We use the money to go to the expenses of the show,” Meyers said. “It’s not cheap to get the fairgrounds for a whole weekend, but we work off some of the cost. The club has work days during the year where we’ll all go out and help maintain the grounds, and that lowers the cost for us. It’s worth it.

“This should be the biggest show we’ve ever done.”

The club has a new sign advertising the Sevierville show.

The club has a new sign advertising the Sevierville show.

Show organizer Mark Meyers recently acquired this 1948 International KB1. Look for it at the Sevierville show April 7-9. 

Show organizer Mark Meyers recently acquired this 1948 International KB1. Look for it at the Sevierville show April 7-9. 

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Swap meet season isn’t over just yet, and for one of the biggest in the country, you’ll want to plan a road trip to Spring Carlisle. This remarkable event features more than 8,100 vending spaces on the 150-acre fairgrounds (1000 Bryn Mawr Rd, Carlisle, PA 17013), a car corral anticipating more than 2,000 vehicles for sale, and a classic car auction that spans three days. Carlisle is located west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is easily accessible.

Spring Carlisle is one of those shows where you find the stuff on your wish list as well as the stuff you didn’t know you needed, and it deserves a place on every hobbyist’s bucket list. A variety of local food vendors allow visitors to experience the flavors of the region, and I was told that the chicken corn soup is not to be missed.

People are a great resource, and in addition to the vendors, fellow hobbyists frequently lend a hand when it comes to tracking down parts at the show.

“It’s a treasure trove of parts,” said Carlisle Events public relations specialist Mike Garland. “You’ll find it here, or you’ll find someone who knows where to get it here. People come from all over the world to hunt down obscure parts.”

The auction will contain a variety of trucks.

“In addition to the collector trucks at the auction, we’ll see a variety of practical trucks in good price ranges,” Garland said.

For more information, go to: Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet, Corral, & Auction

The car corral at Spring Carlisle features more than 2,000 vehicles for sale. 

The car corral at Spring Carlisle features more than 2,000 vehicles for sale. 

The 150-acre facility hosts more than 8,100 vendors during Spring Carlisle. 

The 150-acre facility hosts more than 8,100 vendors during Spring Carlisle. 

Jefferson, Wisconsin

The 40th Annual Spring Jefferson Auto Swap Meet & Car Show will be held April 28-30, 2017, at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds (503 N. Jackson Ave., Jefferson, WI 53549). One of the Midwest’s largest shows, Spring Jefferson features more than 3,100 vendor spaces over 99 acres, hundreds of vehicles for sale in the car corral, hundreds more entered into the car show, and more than 20,000 enthusiastic spectators.

Truck fans will enjoy Spring Jefferson April 28-30. 

Truck fans will enjoy Spring Jefferson April 28-30. 

The car show is Saturday and Sunday only and is open to vehicles of all makes, models, and years. The entry fee is $8, and dash plaques are handed out to the first 200 vehicles registered on each day. Vendor setup for the swap meet begins at dawn on Friday and closes at 7 p.m. Auto-related products must occupy least 80% of each vendor’s table, and Madison Classics isn’t shy about asking vendors who don’t meet that criteria to leave.

For more information, go to: Madison Classics.

More than 20,000 spectators are expected for the 40th Annual Spring Jefferson. 

More than 20,000 spectators are expected for the 40th Annual Spring Jefferson.