June 5, 2018

Father’s Day Trip: 60th Annual Petit Jean Auto Show and Swap Meet

Dad does not need a new tie this year and he can buy himself barbecue grill utensils if he needs them. And honestly, how many "World's Best Dad" coffee mugs can one man need? The ultimate Father's Day gift is your time. We have the perfect Arkansas outing idea for you to take dad on this year, the 60th Annual Petit Jean Automobile Show and Swap Meet.


Located on the tree-shaded grounds of The Museum of Automobiles on Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton, the show begins Tuesday, June 12, and runs through Saturday, June 16. The show is open to the public daily from 8 am to 7 pm. The Mid-America Old-Time Auto Association (MOTAA) hosts the Show and Swap Meet.

Fun for the generations

The Auto Show and Swap Meet has become a family tradition for many. In its 60th year, it is common to see three generations of family members strolling the grounds together. Many grandfathers who came to the show when they were boys tell stories of the cars and people who have graced their lives throughout the event each year.

In addition to hundreds of collectible cars to see (with many for sale), all types of antique auto restoration supplies and new and used parts will be available. You will also find memorabilia ranging from old license plates, automobile ads and literature, auto signs, and other antiques and collectibles. And, funnel cakes, what festival is complete without eating a funnel cake and something on a stick?



Museum family history

The Show and Swap Meet host, The Museum of Automobiles, is the ultimate Father’s Day story in itself.


Buddy Hoelzeman

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In Memory This Weekend

For more than 50 years, Buddy Hoelzeman has been instrumental in keeping the museum alive.

He started work at the Museum of Automobiles as an accountant in 1966 and was promoted to office manager in 1968. Buddy remained in that position until 1975 when the museum was closed and the cars were sold. In 1976, he was instrumental in re-opening the museum as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization and continues to serve as executive director.

Three generations of Hoelzeman car buffs. Buddy Hoelzeman, 2nd from left, his son, Tommy Hoelzeman, 3rd from left and Tommy’s four children, from the left, Garrett, Emily, & Alex Hoelzeman and Andrea Eubanks. They drove the 1964 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible from Petit Jean Mountain to Burnsville, Mississippi for a car show. 700+ miles round trip. The car won 2nd place in it’s class and the longest distance driven trophy.

His son Tommy Joe (TJ) Hoelzeman is in charge of the maintenance and upkeep of the cars and son Alan serves as controller. Yes, every day is Father’s Day at The Museum of Automobiles.

The Museum of Automobiles is also a landmark for the state of Arkansas. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller opened the museum in October 1964 with the intention of bringing tourists to the state. The museum was designed by the Little Rock architectural firm Ginocchio, Carter, Cromwell and Neyland with a consultant from New York. The wooden roof is made from Idaho spruce. The slate used in the building is from Virginia, and the rock in the garden is from the Rio Grande River. The museum grounds consist of 57 acres.


Rockefeller knew the importance of tourism, and he wanted to bring visitors to the state – primarily from Louisiana and Texas. Governor Rockefeller foresaw the future of tourism to our economy and of course, tourism is now the second largest industry in Arkansas.

Make great memories with your dad this year at the Petit Jean Automobile Show and Swap Meet. There is no admission charge to the show. For more information on museum tour costs, visit their website.

The Park Wife

Stephanie Buckley, aka The Park Wife, is a tribe builder. She is the founder of The Women Bloggers, an online community designed to gather, grow, and connect social media influencers. Considered an old-timer in the blog world, since 2006 she has written what she hopes is a love letter to her children on her lifestyle blog, The Park Wife. Raised in the debutante world of Mississippi, she married a hunky park ranger and moved to Arkansas 19 years ago and has fallen in love with the state. She loves gardening, porch swings, a beautifully set table, a delicious meal surrounded by great conversations, their cabin in the woods and monogramming everything that is not nailed down. She is a devoted wife and fun-loving mom to two extraordinarily cool little gentlemen and is fortunate enough to live on one of Arkansas’s premier state parks.

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