SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Coca-Cola fanatics from across the globe have been in the Ozarks all week.
The 38th annual Coca-Cola Collectors Convention is underway at University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.
Up to 1,000 collectors were expected to attend; among this week's activities were auctions, trading centers, contests and, of course refreshments.
Rooms were transformed into mini Coca-Cola stores filled with things from old-fashioned glass bottles to Coca-Cola clocks.
The main purpose of the club is to promote the preservation and collection of memorabilia related to the Coca-Cola Company.
During the convention, attendees could exhibit their Coke-related items, buy, sell, and even trade with other collectors.
The history of the world's most well-known product is represented in collections dating back to 1886.
"I made the mistake of buying one Coca-Cola bottle and that's what started it," says James McDonald, a collector since 1982. He's one of 650 registered attendees at the convention. "Mostly what I collect is early, early, Coca-Cola memorabilia."
McDonald says people pay top dollar to buy the memorabilia for the number one soft drink in the country.
"I sell stuff anywhere from a quarter to $2,000-$3,000. There's something for anybody in any walk of life."
Rob Mathison is the publications director for the club. He says he attends for more than just the material things.
"We have the convention where everybody gets to know each other, so it's like a second family. It's the only time you get to see members from around the world at this one location."
There are about 2,500 members across the nation that collect items like posters, bottles, and much more. But McDonald says it's the calendars that seem to be the most popular item.
"They started in the 1890s, and Coca-Cola companies still manufacture them to this day."
The collectors say its loads of fun and it's a great opportunity to meet people. So why collect Coca-Cola memorabilia as opposed to anything else?
"It's just a hobby! Like anything else you start off, you see an item somewhere, a store or flea market, or inherited it, and the next thing you know, you're just buying a lot of it!" says McDonald.
Saturday, July 7, the collectors will turn the ballroom at the University Plaza hotel into a sea of red. The swap and meet is open to the public, and they encourage anyone who wants to come out to hear experts talk to you about the history, buy something, or just browse.
It is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission and parking is free.