Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Ararat Shrine Swap Meet was full of bargains and bargain-hunters. That's a pretty good combination

Piles of crap. Some guys got it. Other guys want it.

Back in the old days, if you wanted that special part for your old car project, you couldn't just plug it in on eBay and expect it to be sitting on your front porch in three-to-five days. You had to search for it. You looked in junk yards. You watched for old cars at the side of the road. And you went to the swap meet.

Well, this past weekend, that last time-tested tradition was alive and well in Lee's Summit, as the Ararat Shrine Swap Meet took place at the old marshalling yard at the vacated Adesa Auction facility.

If you were here on Saturday, you know what a ridiculously nice day it turned out to be weather-wise. And as you can imagine, that translated into a huge crowd at the swap meet. Thousands of big, greasy guys, a few greasy kids (including mine), and two or three reluctant women were elbow-to-elbow in the dilapidated old lot.

And I do mean dilapidated. If there was anything negative I could bring up about this event, it was the dump it was held at. The buyer's parking lot was nowhere near the actual swap meet (although the Shriner's did a good job running shuttles back-and-forth, as is their usual M.O.), and because it rained pretty hard the night before, everything was either muddy or full of water. I think I drove in on a paved road, but I'll be cleaning stuff out of the inner fenders of my car for the next two years.

On the other hand, at least they have a place to hold it; and that's certainly better than not.

So what were all these bargain hunters looking at out there? Well, there was quite a bit of garbage. Chintzy Chinese tools, old hot rod event T-shirts, Chevette headlight bezels, and any number of other worthless bits and pieces were up for grabs.

But there was still that hope that you might find some Ardun heads buried in a box of hubcaps. You could run across something that you really need, and the guy that owns it doesn't know what it is. There could be some coveted finned Buick brake drums connected to a rusty axle.

There were plenty of project cars, too. Sure, most of them look to have recently been dug out of a hole in some field, but these days those are called "barn finds." Whether you were in the market to buy or not, they were still fun to look at.

BHo and I went through the whole thing, and while I failed to find anything for any of my projects this time (to the delight of my wife, no doubt), my son went home with a whole pocket full of Hot Wheels cars. So to that end, our shopping day was a success.

The slideshow below has nearly 100 pictures of diamonds in the rough from the April 2011 Ararat Shrine Swap Meet in Lee's Summit, Mo. If you didn't make it, you can check out all the fun stuff you missed. And remember, there will be another one of these September 17-18, so you haven't blown your only chance to find the hidden treasure of your dreams just yet.

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