LIMA — Hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts celebrated Valentine’s Day Sunday by heading to the Allen County Fairgrounds for the annual Lima Allen County Motorcycle Swap Meet.
A few even brought their girlfriends.
Jeff Atkinson, co-owner of J & C Motorcycle in Berne, Indiana, remembers a time when he and his wife, Carrie, would find themselves at the swap meet on Valentine’s Day.
“We’ve probably done this meet for 25 years as a vendor. And when I started bringing her, I’d hand her some money and say go buy you something for Valentine’s Day,” Jeff Atkinson said.
“I always looked around and figured out what I wanted — really nice shirts or jewelry,” Carrie Atkinson said.
The Atkinsons have found their love through motorcycles, a passion they both share.
They love it so much, they’re now running the swap meet, taking over for Jim and Mary Godwin, of Mendon.
“I’ve known Jim and Mary for years. My wife got into it when we started dating. And do I want to say in the back of my head, it was a dream … And from the looks of things through the door, I don’t think we did anything wrong yet,” Jeff Atkinson said.
The Godwins had been hosting motorcycle swap meets since 1974 and it was time to sit back and relax.
“She turned 83 and I turned 85 and we both had operations on our arms and I got a new knee. So we decided it’s about time to give it up. (Jeff Atkinson) wanted to take it over and we helped him out on getting it all set up and he’s very happy today,” Jim Godwin said.
More than 60 vendors were spread out over four buildings for the one-day swap meet.
This was the largest number of vendors and quite likely the most number of people attending in quite a while.
“I really feel COVID has had a lot to do with it because a lot of the swap meets in surrounding states are shut down because of that. So everybody just wants to get out of the house,” Jeff Atkinson said.
Getting that many people into four buildings was something they tried to do safely.
“I spoke with the Allen County Health Department at least two or three times in the last five weeks, making sure that we were not creating any violations and we are actually going by their guidelines. Since we are running four buildings they gave us a little bit more leniency on the amount of people we can run through the door,” Jeff Atkinson said.
The show was actually supposed to start at 10 a.m. Sunday but because lines started to form earlier, they opened the doors around 7 a.m.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.