Rick Kretschmer's License Plate Archives 


On this page you can check out what went on at the independent license plate collectors' meet I hosted in Sykesville, Maryland on August 8, 2009. 

Latest noteworthy updates to this page
  • October 19, 2009  –  Changed page from promoting a future event to instead report on a past event.  Added photos of the actual meet. 


I'd been a license plate collector and ALPCA member since August 2003, and since then had attended a number of regional plate meets, mostly in North Carolina and Virginia.  I was ready to host my own plate meet, but didn't necessarily want to take the easy way and hold it in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, where I live.  I primarily collect Maryland and Pennsylvania license plates, and have not had lots of success at finding plates I want at the Carolina meets.  Plus, the one plate meet I had attended in eastern North Carolina was very lightly attended, and I wasn't sure I would get much of a turnout. 

So, instead, I looked into finding a suitable place for a meet somewhere in Maryland, which is my home state.  There had not been a plate meet held in Maryland since I'd been in the hobby, and I had spoken to a few Maryland collectors who hadn't been to a meet in years because they, for various reasons, were unable or unwilling to travel to the meets held in Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Anyway, I was able to arrange for the use of a hall in a fire station in Sykesville, west of Baltimore.  I chose an August date, when not many plate meets are held, to try to avoid competing with the Virginia meets that until then had been held in March, April, and September or October; the North Carolina meets in May and November; the Pennsylvania meet in June; and the New Jersey meet in November. 

And so, the Mid-Atlantic Summer Plate Meet was held in the Sykesville fire station on August 8, 2009. 

Meet photos and descriptions

Meet facility

The Mid-Atlantic Summer Plate Meet was held on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department in Sykesville, Maryland.  Below are some photos of the fire station and firefighting equipment. 

front of meet building
Front view of the meet site
chief's vehicle and ambulance
Chief's vehcile and ambulance
ambulance license plate
License plate on the ambulance
ladder truck
Ladder truck
Plate trading

The primary activity at any license plate meet is buying, selling, and trading license plates.  Collectors bring their duplicate or extra plates to sell or trade, and also their "want lists" of plates they're looking to add to their collections.  For several hours, everyone visits each others' tables, checks out their stuff, and works out deals.  Some collectors have their wives watch their tables while they go look for plates to acquire. 

plate trading plate trading plate trading wives watching tables
Plate displays

Another common sight at plate meets are themed plate displays, which collectors use to show off some of the plates in their collections.  At many meets, including this one, displays are encouraged by announcing in advance that awards will be given for the best displays.  I brought two modest displays of my own, but as the meet host, I declared myself ineligible to receive any awards.  One of these is shown in one of the photos below. 

Since the meet was being held in a fire station, I chose to encourage firefighting-related plate displays by announcing an award for the best display of plates with this specific theme.  There was also an award for best general display, which covered everything else.  Below are just a few of the displays that were seen at the meet. 

firefighting plate display
My Maryland plate display (left), and
the winning firefighting display, part 1
firefighting plate display
Winning firefighting display, part 2
firefighting plate display
Runner-up firefighting display, part 1
firefighting plate display
Runner-up firefighting display, part 2
Md. State Police plate display
The winning general plate
display of Maryland
State Police plates
Delaware plate display
Delaware plates in the
shape of the state
Group photo

A plate meet tradition is to have everyone pose for a group photo, with most people showing off a favorite plate.  We gathered in front of the fire station for this.  See a jumbo version of the group photo. 

Sykesville 2009 group photo

Plate meets often have awards for various categories of displays, and also usually a "long distance" award for the person who traveled the furthest to attend.  I also decided to have an "oldest attendee" award for the person who lived the longest to be able to attend.  I had award plaques made that incorporated actual license plates. 

Sykesville 2009 awards

The award winners receiving their plaques are shown below. 

front of meet building
George Kunsman (right)
Best firefighting plate display
chief's vehicle and ambulance
Harold Harbold (right)
Best general plate display –
Maryland State Police plates
ambulance license plate
Richard Barber (left)
Long distance award
ladder truck
Bob Hughes (left)
Oldest attendee
Plate auction

Most plate meets I've ever been to have had a donation plate auction, and this one was no different.  Auctions are used to defray the meet expenses or to raise money for some purpose.  They're fun to either participate in or just watch; they also provide a means for collectors to get rid of their excess plates, and to obtain plates at bargain prices.  For those reasons, people seem to expect and want an auction as one of the activities at a plate meet, and so of course we had one. 

I asked my frend and fellow collector Kenny O'Dell to be the auctioneer.  Other collectors volunteered to hold up the plates being auctioned so that they could be seen. 

plate auction plate auction plate auction

At most meets I've attended, breakfast food is generally provided, either free of charge, on a donation basis, or at a nominal cost.  We went a step or two further, and provided both a free breakfast and a free pizza lunch.  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos to show of either the food or people enjoying it. 

The idea behind providing a lunch was to keep people from leaving early just because they were hungry.  When this happens, they don't come back.  By feeding everyone, they were more inclined to stick around longer. 

Subsequent meets

I've discontinued the independent Mid-Atlantic Summer Plate Meet after only one year, but that's because it's now become the ALPCA Chesapeake Region "Dog Days of Summer" Plate Meet.  I hosted the first such meet on Saturday, August 14, 2010, in nearby Mount Airy, Maryland.  It's my intention to continue to host an ALPCA Chesapeake Region meet on the second Saturday of August each year. 

Visit the ALPCA Chesapeake Region web site for the latest information on this and other plate meets in the Mid-Atlantic area. 

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