Monday, April 25, 2011

Sweetwater Flea Market...

So, being from the north, we just never saw too many big flea markets, just yard sales, antique shops and estate sales.   In the Chicago area, the biggest operation that would qualify as a “flea market’ is the once a month flea market/antique show at the Kane County Illinois Fairground.
In East Tennessee, ‘Flea Markets ‘R Us!!’  There are a lot of them, with one recent addition in the Knoxville area…and another on the way! (The newest location is referring to itself as a “Market”….time will tell) 
Our first Tennessee flea market experience has been at the “Sweetwater Flea Market” just outside of Sweetwater Tennessee.
Our photos don’t do this place justice… The main building is about 400 yards, (1,200 feet) long and it contains about 800 booths…most of them fully occupied! 
In addition to the 800 indoor vendor booths in a climate controlled environment, there are many booths, tables and outside buildings occupied by other vendors.
Above, is a northerly view just across from the main building.  Sunglasses, rugs, potted flowers and jars of honey are visible in this shot with additional outbuildings just over the top of the closest booths.  Biker clothes and accessories, antiques and collectibles are among the items carried in these buildings… Many of the vendors have maintained businesses here for many years.
Here’s the southerly view.  We have a vendor selling snacks…pork rinds in many flavors, crackling, wheat strips, etc.  Other outdoor booths sell fresh fruit, canned goods and just general flea market odds and ends.  Buildings and vendors who are set up outside of the main facility may be open all week… The main building is only open on weekends.
Shown above, we have one view down a center aisle in the big 1,200 foot main building.   Just in this view, we have vendors selling rare books & stamps; clocks; tapes, cigarettes, children’s books plus leather belts and belt buckles.
Here’s another aisle view… We have a real variety here as well!  Vendors shown are selling video games, a purple cleaner for cleaning a wide variety of items, cellular phone accessories, safety supplies such as work gloves…plus we have a vendor who sells and repairs computers and another that makes signs.
On Saturdays and Sundays, this flea market is a busy place!  Lots of people and cars parked everywhere… Folks shopping for just about everything!  Unfortunately, there are booths that sell a variety of pets…not the best type of place to buy an animal.  One booth was even selling “Sugar Gliders”.  Beyond that, there are clothes, food vendors, shoes, tools, electronics, mobile phone sales, rugs, used furniture, vacuum cleaners, kitchen gadgets, t-shirts, pageant dresses, tires, knives, etc., etc.  There is also an indoor play area for the kids, benches to rest on and several vendors serving food.  My favorite, being from Chicago, was the booth selling Gyros.  On the loudspeaker system, the building's announcer advertizes ‘Jiros’ for that vendor…instead of ‘Yros’.  I chuckle and Laurie wants to go to the office and correct his pronunciation!  The shopping is interesting and the people watching is great!
We’ve been to the Sweetwater Flea Market twice…and I’ve been there one other time.  The Main Building is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM to 5 PM.  They have shopping carts for their customers and the pets… The market is ‘pet friendly’ but you have to carry your pet.
Sweetwater Flea Market is located just off of I-75 between Chattanooga and Knoxville at exit 60 on 121 County Road 308 in Sweetwater.  Phone:  423-337-3532.  Website:  


  1. What fun. I love markets of all types and this one promises not to be boring I hope you had a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Looks like a place to be avoided at all costs.

  3. Hope you all had your walking shoes on. Sounds like a pretty nice day all in all. Sugar gliders? Hmmmm interesting. How are you expected to carry your pet? That doesn't sound very pet friendly to me. LOL, nice post. keri

    1. I bought a sugar glider from here. It's wonderful. You carry them around in a pouch.

  4. Is there consoles,ipods etc?

    1. Not that I noticed but being pre-historic and being one who carries a dumb phone, I wasn't looking either. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave