This time I would like to talk about Automobile Swap Meets and the opportunity to find military items along with everything else. Every August the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds is home to one of the largest Automobile Swap Meets in the Four State area. This year I attended along with my oldest Granddaughter, Charlie. She is actively involved in Judo and helps my son Max build automobile restoration spreadsheets at his business, Liles Performance and Auto Body.
We were fortunate to enjoy one of the nicest August days in recent memory. Normally, the weather for this event is brutal with 90-degree temps and high humidity. The nice weather contributed to crowd attendance; this event had the largest turnout of people attending that I have seen. In previous years I have been able to acquire many nice military items from some of the vendors that frequent this market. Since the COVID-19 disruptions of 2020 and 2021, this venue has endured many changes. The vendors that I was able to buy military items from are gone. I have attended the last three years hoping that they have returned but they have not.
The market is large and takes up the entire fairground, so I thought there was always a chance to turn up something nice. Charlie and I walked for almost four hours and covered the entire area. This is a difficult walk as the vendors are set up over several hills so there is a great deal of walking up and down hills. I was able to find a nice US Army Large Alice Pack and that was all. I did see a Parachute that was missing the shroud lines and an East German Army Helmet that I should have bought but didn’t. I still have memories of how difficult they were to sell 10 years ago.
The few items of military surplus that we found were priced much too high and their asking price was several times of what I routinely sell the same item for here. For instance, one vendor was asking $15 for single MRE meal packets. I normally sell these for $5. I can cite other examples of similar “jacked” prices, but you get the idea.
There was a great deal of new construction on the fairgrounds as they were building new metal exhibition buildings. The Fairgrounds are changing so there is still hope that some new vendors will take the place of the old ones and there will be more than auto-related items being sold. So next August plan to attend this event because you never know what you might find.
I know several smaller militaria dealers that set up at Automobile Swap Meets in Kansas and Nebraska. I have also seen flyers for several swap meets in Oklahoma. So, if one has the time attending one of these swap meets is a fun adventure.
On the way home, I treated Charlie to a nice lunch at the Cracker Barrel. We returned home via 96 Highway which was part of the original Route 66 Highway. Sadly there are not as many attractions along this road as there were years ago. The highlight of our return trip was showing her where me and her dad found our 1969 Dodge Charger.