WHEN completely set up, Ballarat Swap Meet will have 38 kilometres of road winding between sites at the Ballarat Airport.
Organisers say it is like fitting a city the size of Horsham into the Ballarat airfield – set up, in action and pulled down within four days.
Almost 2500 site holders will be spruiking their wares – mostly car parts and memorabilia, some quite rare.
Overseas visitors from the United States, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand and a busload of Tasmanians have already made plans to shop.
More than 400 volunteers will be parking cars, manning ticket booths, directing, assisting and transporting the thousands of people expected to flock through the gates.
Ballarat is billed among the biggest swap meets in Australia.
This week, its Ballarat Airport location was just a field with an airstrip.
However, on February 23 and 24 it will be filled with marquees and stalls as far as the eye can see.
Ballarat Swap Meet spokesman Andrew Rowan said it was definitely worth seeing.
“You don’t really have to be a petrol head or tinker with vintage or model cars,” Mr Rowan said.
“It’s just interesting, really worthwhile to see.”
Rotary’s combined Ballarat clubs will host the event for a second year, having saved it last year from the brink of collapse at three months’ notice.
This time, Rotary has had 12 months of preparation to strengthen and improve the meet.
A program detailing site holder information will help direct patrons in their search.
The ‘park and sell’ display, for cars more than 25 years old, and the ‘show and shine’ will be on display along the old Airport Drive airstrip.
Camp sites at the airport have been made available for swap meet shoppers.
Funds raised will assist Ballarat Rotary clubs’ community work, but Ballarat Swap Meet chairman Robert Glass said the economic impact of the event was far-reaching.
“We’re really keen to keep this event going for Ballarat,” Mr Glass said.
“It’s important for businesses and tourism as a whole, especially in providing accommodation.
“It works well in this city.”