A day at the Key Peninsula swap meet


Steve Whitford

Five years ago, five local vendors got together at the Drive Thru Feed Store and the first swap meet was held. Two years later they moved to a new location in Lake Kathryn adjacent to the Purdy Costless Pharmacy.

This year, they moved to a spot adjacent to the Food Center, just behind the post office. The present site has room for up to 30 vendors.

According to organizers, the swap meet opened for weekend business on the first weekend in May. Vendors pay $15 for a day, $20 for a weekend or $50 for the entire season, which runs through September, weather permitting. Stephanie Zambini manages the meet for the landowner, North Western General Development Co.

On this particular Saturday, June 6, 16 vendors were actively displaying their wares. Here’s a small sample of treasures one might find.

Vendors Stephanie and Joe Zambini are one of the five original participants. The booth has antiques and other merchandise, but their specialty is their jewelry hand made from collected beads and beach rocks.

Robert and Marilyn Cooper are also five year veterans. Their booth features her handcrafted original dolls. Each doll has its own clothes and unique look. Marilyn Cooper spins her own yarn on her small wheel. The yarn is for sale, along with slippers and mittens she makes from her yarn.

Like the Zambinis and Coopers, Robert and Mindi Wilkins (of Cutter Bug fame) have been vendors for all five years. This booth was filled with various collectables and all small children visiting their booth got their choice of a free toy. Their pièce de résistance was a replica of the now-famous New England Patriots football, accurately deflated for easy catching.

Bill and Cindy Luke have been active in the swap meet for the last three years. For sale are stylish lamps that she makes from different types of wood they find. He is a master woodcarver. His handcarved characters appear to come to life in the wood.

Susan and Mike Campbell have been vending the last three years. They once own a gift shop in Gig Harbor. Since its closing, they now sell remaining merchandise at the swap meet, including such items as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe commemorative lunch boxes, skull key chains and numerous porcelain animals including an upside-down horse. Their sales staff includes their 10 Dachshund puppies, not for sale, and one Chihuahua. “We feature odd collectables and knickknacks, a little of this and a little of that,” Susan Campbell said.

Seasonal vendors have first choice of space, with remaining spaces offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For information contact Stephanie Zampini at (253) 884-9469.