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Largest Car Show in the Area Returns for 50th Year in August

Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show to host hundreds of show cars, thousands of spectators for milestone year

McKenna Scherer |

REVVED UP. For auto history buffs, builders, collectors, and the curious, the Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show's 50th event awaits. (Photos via Indianhead website)
REVVED UP. For auto history buffs, builders, collectors, and the curious, the Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show's 50th event awaits. (Photos via Indianhead Car Show website)

The largest car show in Northwestern Wisconsin, the Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show, is gearing up for its 50th year. Returning to our slice of the state on Sunday, Aug. 4, the annual favorite will be parked at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls ready to welcome hundreds of show cars and thousands of spectators.

There’s just somethin’ about automobiles – antique, collector, classic, hot-rod, you name it – that draws people in, and whether you’re a history buff or simply have a thing for the sleek glean of a machine on wheels, you won’t want to miss out on the 50th Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show.

“We typically host 500-600 show cars,” said Ken Bolton, one of the show’s many organizers. Attendees can expect to interact with more than 100 swap meet vendors, 2,000 fellow spectators, 10 food vendors, and assess about 30 for-sale vehicles. "The Swap Meet and Car Show, for each of the last 49 years, as been the show you didn’t want to miss."

As this is the 50th anniversary of what is widely considered the premier swap meet and car show in the area ... we expect an excellent turnout at this year’s show.

KEN BOLTON

INDIANHEAD SWAP MEET AND CAR SHOW ORGANIZER

On top of all that, the special milestone-marker event is pulling out the stops. Nearly two dozen local businesses donated items and cash to sponsor new activities and returning favorites for the event, including a Kid’s Scavenger Hunt with a $50 cash prize, a $1,500 cash drawing for car show entrants, another $1,500 cash drawing for spectators and vendors, a basket raffle, and two 50/50 raffles with one held in the morning and another in the early afternoon.

To satiate yourself after drooling over rat-rods, customs, collector, cars and more, food trucks will be pulled up alongside other vendors and longtime food provider, the 4-H Club food stand. Desserts and specialty grub will be offered alongside more typical fair eats.

Over the decades, the Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show – organized by the Tri-Club Swap Meet, LLC; Marc-Chippewa Valley A’s; Indianhead Old Car Club; and River City Street Rods, LLC – has donated proceeds from its event to dozens of local organizations and educational auto programs, including Lake Holcombe Veterans, Irvine Park Christmas Lighting, Bob’s House for Dogs, Bolton Refuge House, automobile programs at Cumberland, Arcadia, Chippewa Falls, and Rice Lake high schools, and more. With the expected magnitude of this year’s event, the organizers hope to share proceeds even greater and wider than years past.


In preparing for the milestone event, the organizers have reflected heavily on the “why” and “how” behind the show’s continued presence and growth. Bolton said it is thanks to the selfless contributions from spectators, show participants, vendors, volunteers, and sponsors, that the show continues to excel and provide high levels of satisfaction and joy to folks from all walks of life.

“Although many consider the show simply a ‘car show,’ it is also of interest to history buffs and art lovers. Old and some newer car styling is nothing short of gorgeous," Bolton continued. "The mechanical aptitude and creative genius of builders and owners is also strikingly evident!”

“As this is the 50th anniversary of what is widely considered the premier swap meet and car show in the area, combined with our expanded activities during the event and extra-special efforts to spread the word far and wide, we expect an excellent turnout at this year’s show,” Bolton said.

You heard the man – Snag your tickets to the 50th Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show ASAP! Tickets are $5/person for spectators and $15/vendor plus admission with additional costs for camping and parking.


Visit the Indianhead Swap Meet and Car Show website for more information and tickets • The event (view flyer here) will be held on Aug. 4 and starts at 7am