MEDINA — With everything from vintage neon signs from the 1950s to table after table of car parts as far as the eye could see, the Medina Indoor Automotive Swap Meet attracted about 3,000 attendees Sunday.
“There are a lot of guys, they call them motorheads, gearheads, enthusiasts,” event organizer Sally Galanek of Hinckley said during the event. “Some people come out for different reasons: A lot of them have some classic older cars, they are looking for parts.”
Galanek said the event has been hosted in Medina since 2013, and she is noticing an increase in the number of women and children attending the swap meet.
“We have noticed probably over the last five years a lot more women and children coming to the event and a lot of younger people, which is encouraging for the longevity of the event,” she said.
“There is a diverse mixture of people from guys in their 80s to the children that come with their parents,” Galanek added.
Chuck Sakryd, 66, of Elyria, was one of the 168 vendors that set up shop for the day with an array of antique license plates for sale.
“I have been collecting license plates since I was 5 years old,” Sakryd said. “It is just a passion that degenerated into a full-time job.”
“I guess it is what I was put on this earth to do, is collect plates,” he added.
Sakryd said he owns 100,000 license plates that make up both his personal collection and business inventory.
Vintage car owners in Ohio are legally allowed to use vintage license plates that match the year of their vehicle and register those through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Sakryd said it is not unusual to see people flipping through his plates in search of that specific year.
“Hopefully it is just that they are looking for a specific year,” he said. “I have it happen where guys are looking for a specific number and I did find it.”
Sakryd said he has been attending swap meets for more than 40 years, and there is a certain camaraderie among the vendors and car enthusiasts looking to make a deal.
“I find it a lot of fun, I meet a lot of really nice people,” he said. “A lot of them I have seen over the years.”
Hugh Fiebig, 76, was one of roughly half-a dozen members of the Cuyahoga Valley Classic Chevy car club in attendance at the swap meet.
“We have been together for probably 20 years and we come out here to fundraise for our club,” Fiebig said. “We have probably 30 people in our club from all over Northeast Ohio.”
Fiebig said attending events like Sunday’s meet allows the club to contribute to the community, including a recent $500 Toys for Tots donation.
Galanek, who organizes the meet alongside her husband, Joe, said they strive to create a car-themed environment for prospective buyers.
“We try to keep it almost all automotive just to keep the integrity of the event because that is how everything is advertised, and that is what people are in search of,” she said.