The rural community of Willard in Carter County will host the first Guns Galore Swap Meet on Saturday in the area near Papaw’s Country Kitchen.
Organizer Ed Caudill emphasized the gathering is a swap meet and not a gun show, with firearm transactions limited strictly to Kentucky residents and legal merchandise.
“We want to keep this absolutely legal,” said Caudill, adding he hopes to see lots of people who share an interest in guns, as well as good food.
“Come early; we’ll have the restaurant open at 7 a.m. and will be open until 6 that evening,” he said. The early menu will include breakfasts with ham, bacon, sausage, gravy, homemade biscuits and omelettes. Lunch will be a selection of items such as hot dogs, barbecue and burgers, he said, while the dinner menu will be loaded with “our specialties,” including chicken and dumplings, baked steak with onion-mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, homemade yeast rolls, corn bread, soup beans and more.
“Bring your guns, your family and your friends. All we at Papaw’s are looking for is the sale of food and drinks to support our nonprofit restaurant,” he said, citing the organization’s ongoing effort to get a mobile soup kitchen back on the road.
“We’ve got a large field where you can pull in your cars, trucks, trailers, mule sleds or bicycles, whatever you have and can haul guns in. Just pull in, break out your weapons or just walk around looking at others that have set up.”
The event is free and open to visitors and vendors alike, Caudill said, explaining he created the event as a way to bring a crowd into the community.
“Actually, all we’re trying to do is keep the restaurant open and this gives us a captive audience to feed,” Caudill said.
He said he is especially pleased to have local gunsmith Gary Jones involved with the event, explaining Jones is a retired Navy armorer who is certified and federally licensed with a small shop near the Denton community.
“We don’t have a lot of gunsmiths around. We are fortunate to have Gary,” Caudill said.
Participants must adhere to regulations and laws, Caudill stressed.
“All sellers and buyers will be responsible for their own trades and actions. We will have phone service available if you need to call the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) enforcement, or you may be able to ask them in person. Papaw’s Country Kitchen, nor any of its volunteers are authorized to give any legal advice regarding any sales or trades, so please don’t ask.”
Caudill said he anticipates up to 2,000 visitors for Saturday’s swap meet, although he is quick to say, “We may have 20 or we may have 200 show up. I would say we’ve got better than 2,000 invited.”
Based on experience, Caudill said it is difficult to predict how many will find their way to Willard.
“We had a ‘Trade Days’ last fall and our estimate was way too low. The result was that we were out of food by 4 p.m. Don’t want that to happen again,” he said. “By the way, on the 10th and 11th of May, that’s just a month away, Papaw’s Country Kitchen will be having its Spring Trade Days. So plan to bring your guns back if you’re tired of them, bring your farm equipment, your guineas, goats, gators and golf clubs, golf carts, boats or anything that you want to trade or sell. The only limitations we put on items is that they need to be legal, morally ethical and able to leave when the owner does.”
Caudill said nonfamily-friendly activities or items will not be welcomed in Willard.
“Both events are family events. We are a dry county. No alcoholic beverages allowed,” he said, adding Papaw’s reserves the rights for all food sales during the May 10 and 11 Trade Days as well as during other fundraising events.
Papaw’s is at 8720 S. Ky. 1, about nine miles out of Grayson. For more information, call (606) 474-8186 or 474-5514.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com.