Dubbed as “a flea market on steroids” the Jockey Lot has been an Anderson institution since 1974. Over 1,000 vendors set up shop each weekend selling everything from live rabbits, books, used tires and tombstones. Locals joke that if “you can’t find it at the Jockey Lot then it ain’t to be had anywhere.”
Attracting 30,000-60,000 people each Saturday and Sunday year-round, the open outdoor marketplace sprawls over 65-acres on U.S. Highway 29 between Anderson and Greenville. Regular vendors that are there each weekend usually opt to lease space in the 130,000 square feet of several interconnected or container buildings, some with air-conditioning. New vendors and individuals wanting to sell excess household goods usually rent one of the outside spaces that go for as little as $10.00 for a one-day rental.
Farmers bring small animals such as goats, turkeys, rabbits and chickens to sell in addition to their local grown produce. Several tombstone shops are scattered across the lot, providing customers the ability to do some future estate planning. Used tires, tools and knives are next to dealers selling paintings and custom-made furniture. The Jockey Lot’s puppy dog alley is like walking into an animal shelter, wanting to adopt every animal you see, from Maltese puppies to adult Pit Bulls. You can check with the onsite psychic to see if a pet is in your future. If not, you can always treat the kids to a pony ride located in the south parking lot. Food vendors are also prevalent with everything from a Papa John’s pizza place to a taco stand.
Attorney Dickie McClellion got the idea in the 1970’s after a visit to Mexico and wanted to bring the open market concept to home, he said but with lots of parking and clean restrooms. He purchased some land and began setting up the flea market opening up opportunities for thousands of people by giving them a low-overhead way to market their merchandise. The term Jockey Lot came from the haggling, as prices marked are only suggestions and vendors are almost always ready to make a deal.
Today the Anderson Jockey Lot is considered the South’s largest outdoor flea market. In 2006 it was the number one most visited attraction with 2.3 million visitors according to the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, beating out attractions like the Riverbanks Zoo and Darlington Speedway.
There’s free parking and no admission so a visit to the Jockey Lot is a relatively inexpensive outing depending on what you find to buy. Oh, and get there early-even though the hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. a lot of the temporary vendors close up shop just after noon. So if you’re in the market for pretty much anything you should be able to find it with a visit to the Anderson Jockey Lot.