‘Van-lifers’ from across country to unite in Greenfield for 51st annual National Truck-In


For the Recorder

Published: 07-09-2024 4:27 PM

GREENFIELD — Anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 van enthusiasts are expected to convene at the Franklin County Fairgrounds this week for the 51st annual National Truck-In.

“It’s a custom van show,” explained Judi Baker, the event’s co-chair. “People from all over the place come with their custom vans and camp for the week.”

“Van-lifers,” as Baker calls them, come from across the country for the opportunity to gather with others who have similar interests. The event was most recently held in Colorado, but is coming to Greenfield for the second time between Wednesday, July 10 and Sunday, July 14. This five-day event is hosted by the New England Van Council.

The last time the National Truck-In came to Greenfield in 2019, approximately 750 vans with 1,500 people came. Attendees enjoy music and games, and can peruse wares being sold by both local vendors and those from across the country. But mostly, Baker said, they enjoy the opportunity to connect with others like them.

“A friend of mine brought me to a local event, and it seemed to be good for me. A good fit. It’s kind of a judgment-free zone,” Baker said, comparing the event to the gym franchise Planet Fitness with the same slogan. “Nobody cares what you do for a living. We’re all just there to relax and have a good time.”

Although the five-day event at the fairgrounds is geared toward van enthusiasts who sign up ahead of time, the vans will be on display to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday in the Green River lot, the parking lot located across from the fairgrounds on Wisdom Way. Baker added, “Some of these vans are incredible.”

This year’s theme is “Van Olympics,” so there will also be a tailored version of the Olympic games for attendees to participate in and potentially win medals. Trophies will be awarded on Friday.

Then on Saturday, Paul Mennett from “Cruisin’ New England” will be at the fairgrounds filming the vans.

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“We’re … like our own community, almost a family,” Baker said. “And because it’s the national event, not a lot of people get to see each other most of the year. It’s time to gather and catch up. It’s definitely a social event.”

More information can be found at newenglandvancouncil.com/51st-nationals.