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Washington Township fire hall’s auto parts swap meet draws about 600 people

November 29, 2018

Chuck Courty grew up at the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Co. auto parts swap meet.

He’s been there in the rain, in the sunshine, and in the snow. On days that it was too crowded to walk around and days that it was virtually deserted.

The Latrobe resident even bought his first set of tires there -- for an old 1991 Ford F-150 truck.

“I have some of my first memories here,” said Courty, who has been coming to the event for at least 30 years and was there once again on Sunday. “I grew up here. (That’s) always been the fall and the spring plan.”

The volunteer fire company along Route 66 hosts the auto part swap meets to generate money for fire equipment and department upgrades. They’re held twice a year, in spring and fall, and feature parts and accessories for trucks, cars, motorcycles and boats.

Courty was one of roughly 600 people who came to Sunday’s event.

This time he brought his girlfriend, Danielle Harr, who had heard about it before, but has never been. She found it interesting.

“There’s a lot of different stuff,” said Harr, also of Latrobe. “I didn’t know people brought this much stuff.”

That stuff consisted of numerous tools and knickknacks ranging from wheels and tires to wrenches and pliers.

Two Ford truck doors were also up for sale, as well as a go-kart.

Randy Jacobs was selling Chevy parts, such as wheels, tires and front ends.

He goes to about six or eight swap meets a year, but the Washington Township one is the only one he sells at.

He likes the people, and the fact that you can see what you’re buying.

“They have it twice a year, and I’m here every time,” said Jacobs, of Connellsville. “I’ve been coming here for a lot of years.”

The swap meets are free to the public, but vendors are charged $25 or $45 depending on the size of their set-up.

Close to 200 vendors were at Sunday’s event, according to assistant fire Chief Scott Held.

Held said the swap meets are good fundraisers for the fire company because it has the space to host them, and they’re popular because they’re publicized.

Each one brings in between $3,000 to $4,000.

“It’s really convenient for us having a large parcel of land,” he said. “It’s not too often where you can just rent out, literally, your parking lot and make money on it as a fundraiser. It’s a real benefit for us.”

Steve Malenock, of Uniontown, came to Sunday’s swap meet with his granddaughter, Maci, who wants to be a mechanic when she grows up.

“I want to learn how to work on cars because it looks really fun, and I can make a lot of money,” said Maci, 7.

This was Maci’s first time at the fire company swap meet.

“I like it a lot because there’s so many tools that you can pick from,” she said.

Food and refreshments are also sold at the event, which Courty used to entice his girlfriend to go. He promised her hot chocolate and good food.

“That’s never changed, and I hope it never does,” he said. “The fire hall does a good job with their food. I always get a burger and hot chocolate. It’s just a tradition.”

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