UPDATE: Thanks to our alert readers, we found out that the Amherst NH Antique Auto Show and Flea Market is in the process of being resurrected. According to the Save The Amherst Car Show & Flea Market Facebook page, new backers are holding an event May 29 at 157 Hollis Rd, Amherst, New Hampshire.
Check the page for updates, and keep your hopes up.
This post is for nobody but me and the crowd of regulars that made the trip to Amherst, New Hampshire the last Sunday of every month from April to October for 54 years. I’m sad to say that the swap meet is no more.
For the last 30 years, Werner Carlson ran the event in Southern New Hampshire, and it grew exponentially over the years. Before dawn those Sunday mornings, more than 500 vendors and thousands of people scanning for parts would descend on the tiny town like a swarm of locusts. By noon, you’d hardly know anyone was there.
Mr. Carlson sadly passed away late last year. “Werner proudly owned and operated the Amherst N.H. Outdoor Antique Market and Auto Show for 30 years – his own ‘Field of Dreams,'” reads his obituary.
I started going in about 1993, scoring parts for an endless string of crappy old cars I was trying to keep running. I bought parts, I rented vendor space, I sold motorcycles and generally had a fantastic time roaming the aisles.
I got there pretty late in the game. My friend Jay Holdash started with his dad in 1977. “I first went with my Dad in 1977, and I have gone at least once a year for just about every year since. We quite literally bought half of the parts on our Ford Model T there over the years,” he said.
“It was always a great way to spend a Sunday morning. I have TONS of great memories from that place, both with my Dad when he & I would go together, and with my pals, when we’d meet up to walk the fields and share vendor spots.”
Over the last week, vendors received letters and refunds for spaces they reserved. A post on the H.A.M.B. message board at the Jalopy Journal noted “At this time, we do not know what the future holds for Werner’s ‘field of dreams’ and whether the business will re-open in 2016.”
I will sincerely miss the event. It was a wellspring of laughs and friendship for me. To the Carlson family, I hope you know how much Mr. Carlson’s effort over the years was worth to all of us. Thank you for allowing us to share time with him for all those years.