OPINION COLUMNS

Keeping Austin Weird: Let’s swap

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, February 23, 2019
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I’ve been to malls. I’ve been to flea markets. But on Thursday, I set my eyes on something entirely different.

After parking at the Wise County Fairgrounds, I made my first venture into the world of the Decatur Swap Meet, which returned for the 44th year.

Austin Jackson

A foreign world to me, based squarely in the middle of Decatur as it turns out.

I saw folks, stuff and folksy stuff for as far as my retinas could reach.

Stuff is a generic word, but it’s hard to describe the sprawling amount of well, stuff, ranging from antique classic cars, aerodynamic drag racers, off-road behemoths, mopeds, car parts of every kind and year, golf clubs, trinkets, knick knacks and corn dogs for sale at the swap meet.

If you want something, there’s a good chance you can find it here. You just gotta mosey and look.

And as I moseyed, through the sprawling aisles of wares, I got to speak with a few of the 1,330 vendors present.

I quickly noticed a theme.

The Swap Meet is not just about shopping and selling, they said it’s about a community.

By Thursday, there was nothing short of a small city present, and it’s only grown as people have trickled in from far and wide.

I met a man from Plainview who had built a car from the ground up here for the past 20 years, gathering various parts over the years to bring their rusty beast to life.

He tries to come every year, always looking for the next part to complete his 1920s Ford Model A.

I met local folks and some from out of state. I even met a guy from London who might’ve been more struck by the scenery around him than I was. He bought a snow globe with a John Deere tractor inside. A good start to his haul for the day.

“Everyone here, everyone I’ve met is so friendly,” Dean Bailey said. “I think I’ll be back.”

The sentiment was shared.

I’ll be back Saturday and maybe Sunday to see what I can get and see.

The annual event sponsored by the Wise County Antique Auto Club is open to the public 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Friday through Sunday, at the Wise County Fairgrounds on Farm Road 51 South in Decatur. Admission is free, but you do pay to park.

Austin Jackson is a Messenger reporter. Email him at ajackson@wcmessenger.com.

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