(Words and Photos by Joe Grippo) Sing it with me…” It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”, no, not Christmas, it’s time for the AACA Hershey Eastern Region Fall Meet. The Hershey AACA meet is an absolutely massive antique automobile, parts, and accompanying accoutrement swap meet and car show. How massive? It is held in the parking lot of the Hershey Amusement Park and the adjacent Giant Center arena; it has been said that if you walk every aisle you would cover nearly 30 miles! The Antique Automobile Club of America has hosted the event since 1955, it consists of over 9,000 flea market spaces, over 1,000 car corral spaces, and hundreds of show cars. We regularly attend for multiple days to try and take it all in, we are usually unsuccessful. Each year the show attracts visitors from all over the United States and many countries throughout the world. It is a must-do for car folk of all descriptions. Not too many places you see Jay Leno haggling with some old, grizzled swap vendor over some odd-ball valve for a long-forgotten White Steam Car.
Automotive parts are one thing, but if you are looking for some garage art Hershey is the spot. Vintage signs and advertising, ancient tools and equipment, and inconceivably rare memorabilia are there for the purchasing, but a word to the wise…pack heavy, prices are way up. The Fall Meet car corral runs around the perimeter of the swap meet area and is worth the trip by itself. You will see glorious, chromed machines from the 50’s and 60’s door handle to door handle with 60’s muscle and 70’s era malaise land yachts. Add in brass era oddities, trucks of all flavors, unique imports, a variety of motorcycles, and the always staggering array of survivors and recently unearthed barn finds, and your head will be swimming in all the motorized goodness.
We ended each day with an evening visit to the RM Sotheby’s auction held at off-grounds at Hershey Lodge. As if the swap meet didn’t blow your mind all day, the docket of cars and trucks on display for all the looky-loos like me to drool over will finish the job. Duesenberg’s, Auburns and Cadillacs, and the like from the Great Gatsby era are offered up for the more well-heeled enthusiasts and collectors.
If you have never been to the AACA Hershey Fall Meet and you have even a remote interest in old cars, you need to. Seriously.
Get your BangShiftin’ butt to Hershey, Pa next year during the first full week of October 2022.
Pro tip: wear comfortable shoes and bring loads of cash.