Johnstown Independent

Johnstown Community Sportsmans Club

Swappers Day enters 70th year, features more than 700 vendors

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Beth Pennington can recall one of her first experiences at the popular Swappers Day in Johnstown.

In need of another food vendor, organizers asked her father, Sonny Stone, if he could help. He obliged by bringing a grill from home. Stone flipped the burgers, and Pennington took the money.

The family has kept with tradition every Labor Day weekend as more than 700 vendors are displaying -- and working to sell -- their wares at the Sportsmans Club, 7357 Sportsman Club Road, east of U.S. Route 62, through Monday, Sept. 1.

Swappers Day, which is centered around a flea market, is in its 70th year.

"If you're looking for it and can't find it there, then you won't find it anywhere," said Pennington, whose grandfather, Leon Williams, was one of the Sportsmans Club's founders.

The festivities grew out of a group of sportsmen who wanted to race their prize dogs across a man-made pond at the club. The dog trials still are held beginning at noon each day.

Over the years, visitors began bringing items to swap, trade or sell.

"There are all kinds of collectibles," said Bill Tate, a spokesman for the Johnstown Community Sportsmans Club. "You can find tools, booths that sell knives. It's really a wide variety of things that people are interested in buying or trading."

The Sportsmans Club is a 501(c)(7) organization that provides scholarships and other opportunities for children. It also supports many groups that promote conservation and outdoor activities, such as the National Turkey Federation, Boy Scouts and Women in the Outdoors.

Other nonprofit groups are offering games of chance with cash and prizes for winners.

"It really brings in a lot of people, family and friends," Pennington said. "It's changed over the years, but the club remains focused on hunting and the outdoors."

Admission is $5, with children ages 12 and younger admitted for free. Parking on the club grounds is free, with shuttle service provided to and from the gates that are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No camping is permitted in the parking lots, and no pets or alcohol is allowed on club grounds.

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