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All Roads Lead to the Hershey AACA Fall National Meet

The AACA Hershey Fall Meet has come a long way since it was first held in 1954 by the Pottstown, Pennsylvania Region. The following year the Hershey Region was formed, and it hosted the second AACA Fall Meet at the Hershey Stadium. That same year seven individuals set up outside of the Stadium selling parts, and the Flea Market was established. In 1958 the parts vendors set up inside of the Stadium.

In 1961 on the AACA’s 25th anniversary, the Fall Meet was the starting point for the Glidden Tour, and the combination of the two events resulted in close to nine-hundred cars being entered in the show. The early cars were displayed inside of the Stadium and the Flea Market, and later cars were set up in an adjacent field. By 1965, there were over three-hundred Flea Market vendors and more than one-thousand cars in the show.

  • Hershey Chocolate Corporation White trucks gathering milk from dairy farms in the surrounding area.

By 1971, the Flea Market had grown to include twenty-nine hundred spaces. The Red Field was added in 1974, and in 1979 there were a record fifty-three hundred Flea Market spaces. In 1981, the Meet covered eighty acres with some twelve-hundred cars in the Show. By 1985, there were over twenty-one hundred cars entered in the show, and it was considered to be the largest old car event in the country and possibly the world. By the late 1980s, there were over ten-thousand Flea Mart spaces.

The 1990s were another successful decade for the event although it was hampered by hurricanes, rain, and mud for a number of years. In 1997 over seventeen-hundred cars were entered in the show, and there were over ten thousand Flea Market spaces on four fields and size wise it had grown in size to close to three-hundred acres. The new century resulted in many changes due to construction, paving of the fields and the construction of the Giant Center. Due to space restrictions, the event has stayed at about the same size yearly for some time now. The AACA Hershey Region oversees it with seventy-five different committees and seven-hundred and fifty volunteers.

This year the 63rd edition of the Flea Market, Car Corral, and Car Show promises to be just as good or better as all the earlier meets. Hershey is the perfect place to find parts for a vehicle, sell or purchase a car or truck, and attend the Car Show. Learn all the details the 2017 Eastern Division National Fall Meet here and the AACA here. Photos courtesy of the AACA.

12 responses to “All Roads Lead to the Hershey AACA Fall National Meet

  1. I have heard it said that all the good early (ie pre WWII) stuff is gone and you can’t find anything. That may have started to be true about a decade ago, but since then a lot of the collectors who were in the hobby in the 1940-55 era and bought stuff then, are now in their eighties and after saving the stuff for decades now have decided to part with things they haven’t used or were” going to get around to some day”, but never did. I have seen a fair amount of great stuff at Hershey appear out of collections of older enthusiasts. So these parts, etc are now being rediscovered again.

    I have also seen a good amount of grand kids walking around with their grandfathers, and that is an excellent sign.

  2. This is a fine show. I’ve been going off and on since 72. You can never see it all, but you can see enough. Flea action is better on Thursday and Friday, car show of course on Saturday. Bring a change of clothes and dry shoes for the ride home. Weather can be dicey.

  3. While I have nothing to add about the swap meet itself, Iola was always the “go-to” show in the midwest, but the Hershey Mack truck interests me. A mid 30’s BM (BX?) but the trailer, surely must be insulated, but I see no refrigeration of any kind, except, those nozzles at the top. Does anybody know how they kept that thing cold? Ice water?

    • Hi, Howard. Probably had lots of ice blocks in there. I was a helper on an older, non-refrigerated, milk truck back in early-1960s and we put ice blocks on the top row of milk crates. There was a separate insulated cabinet for butter and some more ice went in there. When we stopped at a store I had to haul those wooden crates still had glass bottles then, must have weighed about 40 pounds each.

    • They may have used ammonia holdover plates, that were charged overnight – the nozzles would be the connections to the ammonia lines at the dairy. Fairly common for dairies into the sixties, especially for milk delivery, and my grandfather had a similar, fixed system for the cork-lined cold room in his candy warehouse that dated from the early teens.

      Hershey Ice Cream is actually a separate company from Hershey Chocolate, and its plant is still located on South Cameron Street in Harrisburg. The streetcar tracks and rail bridge in the background makes me believe this shot was taken near the plant.

    • Hi Chris, no these were pretty basic machines. The vents in the hood were manually opened by that little knob on each little door. Most drivers, in hot weather, took the sides off altogether.

    • Hi Chris
      The doors would have been manually opened. They were featured on the cars of the era as well and started to become popular as a styling feature in about 1929 – 1930 and replaced the louvers that were popular previously. I had them on the hood of my 1931 Franklin and 1933 Chrysler.

  4. Thanks for your explanation.Makes sense.
    But wasn’t there some brand of car or truck that did do that?
    But maybe I’m thinking of the radiator shutters on the grilles of some trucks.

  5. Glad to hear things are picking up. We went a few years ago, and frankly there was not too much that drew our interest. Lots of near junk and high prices, and we were there on the early days. Was invited to do a book signing so my husband and I had a fun trip, although it rained all the way home to Georgia.

  6. I have been going to Hershey every year since 1965 , it is the king of all shows and this year was perfect most of my friends are gone now so it is not as much fun without them, however this year my son and grandson were both there to carry on the tradition . I now ride a scooter and cover all the fields.
    This my be my last year going as the weather , show was perfect which make for a great end to my Hershey trips..

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