BCBA’s 7th Annual Swap Meet a success

By Roxie Murphy, Assistant Editor
Posted 7/3/24

BELLE — Belle Community Betterment Association’s (BCBA) Swap Meet Coordinator Stacey Kelly said on July 18 that they consider the event a success despite thunderstorms from an early …

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BCBA’s 7th Annual Swap Meet a success


BELLE — Belle Community Betterment Association’s (BCBA) Swap Meet Coordinator Stacey Kelly said on July 18 that they consider the event a success despite thunderstorms from an early morning weather system.

“On Friday we were completely sold out on the map for vendors,” Kelly said about the June 8 event. “With the rain that came in on Saturday, we had several phone calls from vendors that they weren’t going to be able to make it. We totally understand if you have stuff you don’t want to get wet.”

There were 210 vendor lots available and approximately 150 vendors reserved them all.

“Several came on Friday evening and stayed overnight,” Kelly said. “A lot of them had hotels in the area which helped our area communities. Several in Linn, Owensville, and Rolla.”

Other vendors asked permission for a late setup, as rain was expected to quit by mid-morning.

“Normally they are in their spots by 7:30 a.m., but this year we still had them coming in around 8:30 a.m. and set up at 9 a.m.,” Kelly said. “It was nice and we are thankful the weather turned out better and we didn’t have rain all day. Most of the vendors were pleased and I seen a lot of stuff being carried out.”

Vendors sold a variety of goods, including woodworking, crafts, jewelry, tumblers, t-shirts, fishing gear, furniture, metal signs, antique signs, horse tack, and vintage toys. From new merchandise to laundry soap to boutiques. Even two political campaigns.”

Kelly said she also noticed more car parts and even whole cars for sale.

“It was really nice to have more antique or repurposed or refurbished farm finds, too,” Kelly added.

Many reservations were a vendor/car show combo.

“I talked to several husband and wife pairs who drove two different vehicles down,” Kelly said. “He was in the car show and she had a resale shop. She was purchasing finds to resell and had a truck full. My parking people said there were people going back and forth unloading treasures and going back to buy more. It was good to see people staying longer.”

Attendance was down in comparison with previous years.

“I don’t know exactly how many (visitors) there were,” Kelly said. “There was less this year than in years past. There were a lot of cars in the car show, though many canceled at the last minute.”

To make up for fewer volunteers, BCBA members also came up with creative ways to sell and deliver food to the vendors.

“The concession stand had the food trailer,” Kelly said.

Belle Mayor James (Pudd) Mitchell pulled Kevin and Brenda Guffey’s food wagon behind a Side-by-Side.

“Pudd Mitchell went around to the vendors, who really appreciated having it,” Kelly said. “This helped out with the situation of people who didn’t have helpers.”

If a vendor attends the event with only one or no helpers, it is hard for them to leave their booth unattended. Concessions included hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers, and drinks. At least one vendor offered fresh vegetables.

“I had a lot of people comment on the variety of vendors this year. They really enjoyed the community. There was one vehicle from Indiana. In surrounding states, it’s starting to be well-known. They were coming from all over,” Kelly said. “A lot of Illinois people, not just vendors, but members of the public. People are already putting it on the calendar for next year.”

Next year’s event has already been scheduled for June 14, and vendors are paying to reserve their same locations.

“We normally do an event page under BCBA and have the vendor applications,” Kelly said. “We also have a website — BELLECBA.org. “Vendor applications are there. Lots of vendors prepay this year for next year to save their spots. They have until April to save this year’s spot for next year. Then it’s a free-for-all. Checks will be coming in from now until next year to save their spots.”

Kelly said the 7th Annual Swap Meet couldn’t take place without a bunch of great volunteers.

“It takes a crew to do it and make it work,” she said.” We’ve got a great crew, very appreciative.”