MORE than 20,000 thrifty buyers and dedicated collectors enjoyed the Bendigo National Swap Meet over the weekend.
The Prince of Wales Showgrounds was filled with 1660 sites filled with all sorts of second-hand, refurbished and reproduced goods.
Neil Athorn, Bendigo National Swap Committee secretary and Federation of Veteran, Vintage and Classic Club Victoria president, said the weekend went off without a hitch.
“We had about 23,000 people through the door,” he said.
“It wasn’t our biggest ever event, but it was pretty close.
“The new shed was a big talking point and we’ve been through and made sure we’ve got it right for next year.
“We’ve already booked it out with traders for next year’s event, which will have a display of Morris vehicles to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the car company.
“It all went really well.”
The first people to get into the showgrounds when gates opened on Saturday at 6am were Gary and Ivan Tishler and Kenny and Joanne Ward.
The group arrived from Korumburra at 4am and sat in the car park until 5am, before they secured first place in the line.
Thousands more filled the showgrounds throughout the weekend, looking for bargains and hidden treasure.
Customers included those looking for obscure car and motorbike parts, restorers of old furniture, collectors and second-hand goods store owners.
Josh Fowles from Mildura was rolling a Furphy wheel with a full bag of purchases through the showgrounds. “I’m about to unload my bag and start again,” he said.
Rob Green and daughter Fiona from Melbourne were wearing a hat listing their request – a 1950s air filter for an old Mercedes Benz.
“We think we found it,” Rob said. “We’re not sure what it’s from but it should do the job. It’s the right measurements.”
Lismore’s David and Anne Manby own a second-hand store and were on their third trip back to the car with a full trolley.
David had good advice for shoppers.
“You have to know what you’re looking for and what things are worth,” he said.
“There’s a lot of reproduction stuff around here too, which is fine, but you have to know what it is.
“The biggest thing is if you like it, you should buy it when you see it, because it may not be there when you come back.”