Autofans love Ballarat swap meet buys

WHAT makes people return to the Ballarat Swap Meet every year?

Whether it’s the ultra-rare car parts to be found or the weird and wonderful characters, thousands make the pilgrimage to the Ballarat Airport to grab a bargain, turn junk into cash or to catch up with long-lost mates.

They’ll be many making that pilgrimage again on Saturday and Sunday for the 2013 event, organised by the combined Rotary clubs of Ballarat, which has attracted more than 2500 site bookings.

Ballarat’s Daniel Caffar knows better than most about the lures of the swap meet. He has been coming back for 22 years.

“I was 14 when I first went,” he said.

“Once I got my licence four years later, I got a site and started to sell some stuff.”

Mr Caffar said his passion for performance automotive parts kept him coming back to the swap meet – one of Ballarat’s biggest events.

“The best thing to buy is something you’re not even looking for,” he said.

“You’ll be searching for something for one car, then all of a sudden you’re walking past and you find something for another car.”Mr Caffar said eBay and other online traders had taken a lot of bargaining out of swap meets.

“It’s killed it,” he said.

“People know what stuff is worth because they value it on eBay before the swap meet, so the bargains are drying up.

“But there’s still a lot of people who don’t have anything to do with eBay and just go to swap meets.”

Day entry is $10, or a weekend ticket is $15. All children under 14 can enter for free.

Public access is available via Airport Road, Mitchell Park, or from the Ring Road.