Thursday, March 10, 2011

Swap Shop, Fort Lauderdale

Once a year I make a pilgrimage to the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. Its something I can do only once or twice a season. The reason? Its just to overwhelming. Its advertised on television as "Florida's second biggest tourist attraction".
Think farmers market, meets flea market, meets carnival, meets drive-in cinema. Part kitschy and circus like, the Swap Shop is an amalgamation of products and people from every corner of the globe.
The Swap Shop is 88 acres of vendors of every kind. Dealers from  New England selling priceless antiques next to newly arrived people from Haiti selling hubcaps and used Tupperware. There are approximately 2000 dealers. Some specialise in electronics, jewelry, clothing, produce and many other categories...

On approach to the Swap Shop from Sunrise Avenue, its hard to miss the over sized American flag juxtaposed the mid century kitschy drive-in cinema screens. Ferris wheels, amusement rides and an exotic car museum are some of the attractions. The drive-in was opened in November of 1963 and has been featured in some movies. The 14-screen drive-in theater doubles as the largest drive-in and largest daily flea market in the world....
The food court is a microcosm of Florida with flavors from all over Latin America and beyond. I noticed that many of the visitors of the Swap Shop today are middle aged/senior French-Canadians. As I walked through the miles of aisles, some vendors addressed me in French.

The range of products seems endless:  Impostor Designer Perfumes, hip hop gear, faux designer bags, first communion outfits and Muslim hijabs are crammed into small stalls, and kiosks.

Many business' in south Florida got their start selling rummage at the Swap Shop. This vendor "packs up" after a busy day....
The Swap Shop, always an adventure.....
The Details:
The Swap Shop (aka $wap Shop)
3291 W Sunrise Blvd
Fort Lauderdale ( Lauderhill), FL 33311
Open every day ( including holidays)
Plenty of parking available on 88 acres. Price for parking varies with days and times.
Drive-in, Flea Market, 2000 vendors and mini carnival...

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