Max’s Mini Swap brings a 3-day holiday flea market

LIMA — Max McClure grew up on a farm where they have been doing swap meets for the past 40 years. That’s where he became an auctioneer and gained a following.

McClure created Max’s Trader World and brought the Water Dog Races to Lima. Afterward, he purchased Rebel Run, an event that by 2019 annually brings more than 3,000 visitors for a two-day event and generates around $1.75 million in revenues to Lima and Allen County.

“Max’s Mini Swap” is a spin-off of Max’s Flea Market and Water Dog Races but is held as a spring event, offered in April, May and June. The next one will be held during the three-day Memorial Day holiday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at the Allen County Fairgrounds, 2750 Harding Highway, Lima. Admission to the event is $5 per shopper.

Roughly 175 vendors are expected to show up at this large flea market event. The event sold out 120 spaces within four fairgrounds buildings, and the remaining 55 vendors will be located outdoors, rain or shine.

While a relatively new yet large event, it pales in comparison to their Labor Day show in September, which McClure says has 1,000 vendors with 2,000 spots, in which he reserves the entire fairgrounds to accommodate between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors.

“It’s the biggest event at the fairgrounds. It’s actually bigger than the Allen County Fair,” McClure said. “During our big show, shoppers come from 20 states.”

Many of the Memorial Day “Max’s Mini Swap” vendors previously were active with a similar event in Kenton, which shut down a few years ago, McClure said. To draw additional vendors, McClure reached out to all of his spring event vendors to notify them of this opportunity as well.

“They say, ‘You build it, and they will come,’ and boy did they ever,” McClure said.

The March show, the first “Max’s Mini Swap,” brought in about 120 vendors and 900 shoppers for a one-day event, he said. So far, he has seen shoppers traveling to Lima not only from around Ohio but also from Indiana and Michigan.

The event is expected to feature a variety of physical items, such as antiques, crafts and guns as well as live animal sales, including dogs, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.

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Max’s Mini Swap, a smaller version of the popular Max’s Trader Days near Labor Day, is scheduled to bring 175 vendors to the Allen County Fairgrounds this weekend.’s Mini Swap, a smaller version of the popular Max’s Trader Days near Labor Day, is scheduled to bring 175 vendors to the Allen County Fairgrounds this weekend. File photo | The Lima News
Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.

By Shannon Bohle

[email protected]

Shannon Bohle covers entertainment at The Lima News. After growing up in Shawnee Township, she earned her BA at Miami University, MLIS from Kent State University, MA from Johns Hopkins University-Baltimore and pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. Bohle assisted with the publication of nine books and has written for National Geographic, Nature, NASA, Astronomy & Geophysics and Bloomsbury Press. Her public speaking venues included the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the Smithsonian and UC-Berkeley, and her awards include The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest and a DoD competition in artificial intelligence. Reach her at [email protected] or 567-242-0399.