In Nov. 22 IssueRussell County NewsBy Ron Cowell, Columnist
Since nearly the beginning of time, finding hidden treasure has been a thought for nearly everyone. For the car enthusiasts this treasure hunt takes place in old barns, forgotten salvage yards, classified ads, swap meets and more recently the internet.
Most swap meets are local affairs where guys and gals clean out their sheds and spend the afternoon hoping to come back home with a lot less than they left with.
Every region of the United States has a few select swap meets that have grown into something a lot bigger than was expected.
Places like Pomona, Carlisle, Hershey, Jefferson and Springfield take on a special meaning to those of us who seek out that hard to find part for that old car we are restoring. Add to that list Iola, Wisc., and Swap Meet in Iola, Wisc.
This meet is held in a place where you would never think to see it. The City has a population of 1,300 residents and is located near the center of the state.
The Iola show started in 1972 as a fund raiser for the local Lions Club that brought out a handful of people and classic cars that gathered in the City Park. Since that time it has become one of the nation’s largest car show and swap meet. It now has nearly 4,500 swap meet spaces with people selling their treasures and more than 1,000 cars for sale.
That alone brings in car enthusiasts from across the country. Add to that hundreds of restored classic cars and street rods on display and you have a really first class event.
To this day it still maintains its completely volunteer civic-minded roots. There are 122 different local non-profit groups that work to make this event the great success that it is. The proceeds from the event go to help these organizations as well as make improvements to the show grounds.
There is a camping facility near by that is first class all the way, if you want to camp. At the campground they have vintage tractor pulling trailers hauling the campers right to the main gate of the swap meet and show.
The Iola Swap Meet and show lasts for four days and if you plan on taking in the whole event you might just as well plan on spending all four days there.
The swap meet part of the event is laid out over the rolling hills of central Wisconsin so bring along a good pair of walking shoes because you will do plenty of walking to take it all in.
As far as something to eat that’s all taken care of also. The food is really good and you will find it all over the event. I know that food is an important draw to some of the clubs around here.
When you plan an event one of the first things to decide is, “Where we gonna’ eat?”. Local groups start each day with pancake breakfasts and end the day with a really good chicken or pork chop dinner.
This is an event that everyone that is looking for that special car part, car or just likes to look at some fantastic classic cars is where you want to be.
If you would like to attend this show in central Wisconsin it is always held the first weekend after the 4th of July. You won’t be sorry you took the time to travel there to take it all in.
With a little effort and a little luck, I would almost bet you too will discover your own hidden treasure that you have been looking for or just can’t pass up a deal like that.
For more information on this show you can call (715) 445-4000 or check out the web site at www.iolaoldcarshow.com
There are also many other large swap meets a little closer to home you might want to make plans to attend next year.
There are meets in Bowling Green Ky., Nashville Tenn., and all around the area. If it’s a first time for you or you are just getting started looking for that one special part you need, you can check with any of the car clubs in the area.
They can point you to an event coming up in the spring of the year where you just might find that one part you need. Plus you will enjoy the time spent looking.
If your Car Club is having an event and you would like us to tell everyone about or someone who you would like to see featured in this article send all information to, email@example.com
Until next time, Keep Cruisin’!