Organizers of canceled Butler Co. event want to know why similar car show was given ‘preferential treatment’

Confidential agreement uncovered allowed Pa. car show to happen despite COVID-19 restrictions

BUTLER CO., Pa. — For the first time in 43 years, the Big Butler Parts-A-Rama -- the area’s biggest auto parts swap meet -- did not happen as scheduled.

It was supposed to take place two months ago, and the organizers told Channel 11 the COVID-19 health mandates from Gov. Tom Wolf forced them to shut it down.

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However, Nadine Napierkowski wants to know why a similar event was able to move forward in eastern Pa.

“My question is, why did they get preferential treatment? What is it that they did, and why is it not available to us?” she said.

In June, the Pa. Department of Health filed an injunction to shut down Spring Carlisle -- a huge car show and flea market event near Harrisburg -- saying an outdoor gathering of that magnitude, allowing up to 20,000 people in per day, would put lives at risk.

But it was then allowed to continue after a confidential settlement agreement between health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and the Carlisle Car Show. 11 Investigates obtained paperwork that shows the two sides came to a discrete deal allowing the show to go on even though it violated the green phase restrictions that all of Pa. is supposed to be abiding by: 250 people at outdoor events; 25 people at indoor events.

The confidential agreement allowed this car show to go on for four days, letting 20,000 people in per day because it was designated as a flea market.

“I am angry, but more I am concerned as to if these are the things that are going on behind our backs, and these are things that are going on within our government,” Napierkowski said.

Both events were four days, Big Butler is on a larger property at 99 acres, and 20,000 total were expected to attend. So Napierkowski is frustrated that their event was not allowed to continue.

“I mean, how much do they really care about us as people? There are so many people losing their businesses and their homes because they’re not making any money,” she said.

Confidential agreement uncovered allowed Pa. car show to happen despite COVID-19 restrictions