Early Swap Meet History
Puget Sound Regional Group of the Early Ford V8 Club
This retrospective was compiled by Rick and Mariann Mann through meeting minutes, newsletters, and interviews with former Swap Meet Chairmen and originally published in the May 1998 PSRG Newsletter, Puget Sounds, and again in Volume 47 Issue 5 May 2016 of the club’s newsletter. A couple of common themes run through the records: the success built with each year, with more vendors, more buyers, and more money for the club’s coffers. And, each year the Chairman had to beat the bushes for volunteers. Although only the members with official “jobs” or chairmanships are listed in many of the records, we know that in most cases the chairperson’s spouse was involved in the work as well.
1974 1st Annual May 4-5, Seattle Center Flag Pavilion
Bill Steil and Dick Foster were early supporters of the idea to hold a Swap Meet. The original purpose wasn’t to raise money for the club, but to provide a source of parts of members’ cars. It was difficult to find parts in the early 1970’s. Jim Hebert was chairman of the 1st meet. Dick Foster was coordinator, Myrna Hillyard was in charge of reservations, Milo Johnson organized Ads and Promotion and Dean Rayworth was responsible for Layout.
From the Feb. 1974 newsletter: “At first the swap meet looked like it was going to fall through. We were finding out, like the other clubs that had thought of having a swap meet, that Seattle doesn’t have too many good sites available. We finally got a contract with the Flag Pavilion, but only by Dick Foster’s inside work at City Hall.”
Cost to the club was $300; there were 106 indoor stalls and cars for sale outside. The contract with the City required that 24 cars be shown at the Center for the weekend. The cars on display under the flags with the Space Needle in the background was an impressive sight. 20 volunteers were needed for set up, security and clean up. Stalls were sold out by April 8th. Vendors came from as far as Medford OR and Spokane WA.
1975 2nd Annual May 17-19 1975, Seattle Center Display Hall
Chris Perovich is chairman; Myrna Hillyard does Reservations; 210 stalls are sold for $12 each. A $10,000 bond is required for security on the Display hall and Dick & Pat Foster put up the deed on their house to meet the bond.
1976-1978, 3th, 4th & 5th Annual, Seattle Center
The Seattle Center grounds continue as the location with the Swap Meet, returning to the Flag Pavilion in 1976 and 1977 and then moving to the Exposition Hall in 1978. From the June 1976 newsletter: “We had thunder, lightening, and rain late Sat. afternoon, but we still had over 35,000 people come through the Flag Plaza Pavilion…We sold over 400 raffle tickets… acquired five new members.”
Dick, Craig, and Pat Foster, Bob Stevens, Mike Dermond, Troxell Paris, Pat Massett and Dick Brooks were noted for their work. Bill Steil is Chairman in 1976 with Dick Foster as back-up; in ‘77 Dick chairs the Meet and Bill is back-up. Lynn Hillyard is Chairman in 1978 and Myrna Hillyard continues to handle reservations.