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Attracting a crowd for special events these days can be challenging. 

People are always on the go and competing for their time during Minnesota’s short summer isn’t easy as choices of what to do are seemingly endless.

Princeton’s Knights of Columbus already had a fun event with its annual car show. This year’s event has a new and likely delicious twist.

The 10th annual Car Show & Swap Meet is set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 9492 Baptist Church Road in Princeton.

Added to those favorites is an inaugural barbecue rib competition.

Throw in the usual fish fry that includes hot dogs, burgers, onion rings and corn dogs, and going away hungry or bored shouldn’t be a problem.

“With today’s social media, it certainly makes easier to get the word out about these events,” said Rick Schwartz, who is in his 39th year with the Knights of Columbus.

He added: “From that aspect, I find it to be easier. But it’s still challenging. It takes the group of Knights to get this done. It’s very difficult for one person to head anything up like this. But if these are things you want to do, you take it on and complete it.”

Admission to the event is free, as is parking. Schwartz said the idea to add a rib cooking contest and swap meet to the program was necessary to due declining interest in the car show – which has been an annual event for nine years.

“It was a car show and there wasn’t a whole lot more that went with it,” Schwartz said. “It was a tiny event. There wasn’t really a whole lot of food and there was no music. It was just a day for people to get together to show off their cars, and in all honesty it just kind of died down.”

The event was previously held in a church parking lot. This year, it moves to a 4-acre plot of land that affords plenty of space for all three events. The events are separate entities, though the event as a whole is conducted by the Knights of Columbus.

Schwartz’s son, John, randomly began entering rib cooking contests and has enjoyed big-time success. That set off the light bulb when it came to ideas for expanding the car show.

“When I became program director, my responsibilities are for all programs and to oversee all committees,” Schwartz said. “I sat down with some fellow Knights and we started talking about ways to make this bigger. My son is very active on the barbecue competition circuit, so we started knocking our heads together and said ‘Why don’t we combine a BBQ event since we don’t have one locally.’

Spaces for the swap meet are available for $50 per vendor. The top rib-cooker will earn $300 cash prize, followed by $200 for second and $100 for third. The Knights of Columbus will be in charge of the additional food vendors and beer garden.

There will be a space dedicated to families.

“One of the unique things we’re bringing to this is we’re very family-friendly, so we are having a family fun area fenced off specifically for family and kids to play some games like I used to as a kid like plastic bats and baseballs and running the bases,” Schwartz said. “It’s all the kind of games that you don’t see anymore. This isn’t just a mom and dad thing. The whole family can come. And enjoy the day.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I have a tremendous amount of time invested to this and this organization is very dear to my heart.” The event is sponsored by Traeger Wood Fired Grills. For more information, visit

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