Gadgets and gizmos aplenty at Fall Swap Meet in Bristol

Published on Monday, 5 November 2018 19:14
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


BRISTOL- With trinkets and treasures aplenty, the Connecticut Street Rod Association’s 29th annual Fall Swap Meet was full of characters Sunday.

The event was held in the parking area of Lake Compounce, now closed for the season.

Perched inside a custom red Chevy pickup wearing a top hat was Chuck Smith, one of 500-plus vendors selling goods. Dotted on the ground in front of the Naugatuck resident were tool boxes of all types, lids open to reveal gizmos of various varieties.

“You see it, we got it. You break it, you bought it. You don’t see it, we can get it. How may I help you today?” Smith greeted browsers to his booth, quoting a line from “The Cosby Show.”

“People here can make stuff out of nothing,” he said, peering around at the work-booted crowds strolling by. “The proper tool helps with every job.”

A few rows over was Paul Melluzzo, organizing items in his booth while keeping an eye on eyes in the crowd, looking over his things. A few people stopped to check out a 1994 Yamaha 125 motorcycle designed for trail-riding, more commonly known as a dirt bike.

“I can’t complain,” the Durham resident said. “Anytime you sell something it’s always worth it.”

People from all across the state came to the CSRA’s swap meet, most yearly sellers and shoppers, or both.

“I’d say about 90 percent of the people here are car-oriented,” Chairman Bobby Kesilewski explained. “They’re here to buy parts. A lot of the stuff you’ll come across you can’t find in stores anymore.”

Old, well-oiled Snap-On tools, for example. A rusted-out 1964 Dodge Dart. Records, a welding machine, chainsaws, catalytic converters.

“It’s a great place to just hang out for the day,” Bristol resident Michael Krompegal pointed out.

The owner of Nova Construction in Bristol has been coming to swap meets almost 20 years.

“I bought a few things today,” Krompegal added. “Some tools. They’re cheaper here. You can bargain.”

One of the first booths in the lineup was run by the Silver City Quarter Midget Club from Meriden. Although members had several of their pint-sized auto racing vehicles on hand, they weren’t up for sale.

“Our guys help the CSRA park their hot rods,” Elizabeth Smith said. “They give us a booth and it helps us get our name out there.”

Mark Gorneault and his son Joel come every year. Father and son had a variety of antiques for sale Sunday.

“We enjoy the variety found here,” Mark said. “And the atmosphere,” Joel added.

Across the row, siblings Autumn and Justin Loper, 10 and 16, joined their 28-year-old step-brother Thomas Crawford selling stuff the group brought from the home they share in Naugatuck.

“Besides the money, we’re here to get rid of a lot today,” Crawford said. “We’re running out of space in our house. We’re trying to downsize substantially.”

In addition to toys and tools for sale they offered passers-by chips and soda for $1 each.

The CSRA also hosts a Spring Swap Meet on the grounds. April 28, 2019, will mark the club’s 50th annual gathering.

“We always try to host a first-class event,” Treasurer Dennis Dagliere said.

About 4,000 visitors made their way around the dusty lot Sunday, many with specific parts, tools or wheels in mind. From 6 a.m. when the gates opened, the sunshine was as abundant as the sales.

“It’s going wonderful today,” Vice President Anthony Perrone said. “The weather’s been cooperative and we’ve had a fantastic turnout so far.”

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News on Monday, 5 November 2018 19:14. Updated: Monday, 5 November 2018 19:17.