On The Road with Johnny B ..Spring Carlisle Reflections


When the cold winds of winter swirls outside a man’s thoughts turn to Spring, love and pretty women in flowery dresses. That’s if you are a normal person. If you are an old car nut than your thoughts turn to Spring Carlisle.

Now don’t get me wrong your ole buddy Johnny B is just as smitten at the sight of a pretty dress on a curvy beauty as the next dude but after a long cold Winter it's time to look at old cars and 160 acres of parts and cool junk.

Being my 41st time attending Spring Carlisle I can tell you it will be one of the best in memory and it hasn't even happened yet.. The weather will be it's unusual buffet of warm, rain, cold, wind and yes sometimes snow. The Carlisle Fairgrounds will be packed with over 100,000 car crazy maniacs. I need the usual assorted parts and collectibles for projects or just personal memories.



Despite all these years going to Spring Carlisle I’m always amazed at the amount and diversity of the car, parts and junk for sale. Vehicles ranging from a Moss Covered Corvette, 1934 Lincoln Town Sedan V12 to a 1924 Chevrolet Touring Car were for sale in the car corral.

The swap meet was crammed with old, used and new items. at a past Spring Carlisle were selling everything there. One space offered old phone booths and WWII bombs..deactivated I hope. Not sure how that got past security. I collect old licence plate toppers and was able to buy 4 very cool old ACCA and CCOA type all for $10.00 each.

I always visit the “Sticker Guy” and purchased old odd stickers from the for the back window of some dumb project. Found very nice 1974 New York licence plates also for Otto at a not to bad price. Also found a scrapbook crammed with post cards from an unknown family telling about road trip from 1936 to 1948. A $5.00 bargain I will always cherish.

Another Uber cool item was a 1930's Waltham Aftermarket Dashboard Clock. Found among a load of late model Camaro Junk not sure the seller knew what it was. A true steal at $25.00. American Pickers would be proud of me for sure

With over 8000 vendor spaces you can log more miles than Lewis and Clark but its worth the aching feet and back. Part of the fun of any Carlisle Fairgrounds car event is the food.

Outside of the Fairgrounds a must visit is Desperate Time's Brewery. lots different craft beers and a fine menu. Another Restaurant in Carlisle called Argana. Moroccan food in Carlisle? Yes and it was amazing. I just made sure I didn’t mix English beer and Moroccan food. The results could of been deadly.

One the things that keeps me coming back to The Carlisle Fairgrounds (besides Vintage Auto Appraisal) is the huge amount of memories. Most great and some sad. It is sad memory to see as the years pass we are losing some of the older people or Mom and Pop vendors that made it special.

Sad memory because of our need for social networking and the internet it has become more corporate than I would like. Bittersweet memory that even after all these years I still expect to see Chip Miller riding around in his golf cart with his straw hat and ‘Life Is Good” smile. Him like other amazing people were taken at a much to early age. I think he would be proud of his son Lance and what the Carlisle Fairgrounds has become.

Happy memory that I patched a long thought of dead relationship with the grace of God and some luck. I hurt this person badly with my own bad choices and he got destroyed in the wake that became my life at the time. You sometimes make choices to survive and loved ones can get hurt. That was eight years ago and I guess healing takes time.

Happy memory of seeing old friends and enjoying old stories. Happy memory of all the cars and junk I purchased and sold over 3 deacdes. Happy memory to see the Carlisle Fairgrounds packed and alive with people and cars. Happy memory of another Sunday at The Tree Of Life Church remembering all the people they have saved. Including me.

Sad memory because I have to leave and head back to Port Jefferson. But I don’t worry because another Carlisle is only around the corner and I can re-fill my memory bank. See Y'all around the Carlisle Fairgrounds..