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Public Market greets 40k guests

Turkey Creek Public Market is still celebrating its traffic-stopping grand-opening event, held several weeks ago.

“We had a tremendous event with traffic backed up on the Interstate even. That was unexpected,” Market developer Charles Atchley said.

More than 40,000 people came through the doors during that grand-opening event Saturday, Sept. 24, he added. The Market had a soft opening nearly a month before that.

Atchley said he has ben asking visitors to fill out brief surveys to determine just where so many customers were coming from. An estimated 12 percent are coming from out of state, and other visitors have traveled from nearly every single county in Tennessee.

“We are attracting people from all over,” Atchley said.

“I think we’ve surprised some people with how well this has done,” he added.

Atchley has long touted the Public Market as more than a combination mall, antique store, flea market and farmers’ market.

“It’s a community center. It’s an event center,” he said.

Recently, the Public Market hosted Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership’s largest event ever — their annual Schmoozapalooza, which attracted a record 800 people.

“And so many people had such a good time, they booked it for next year,” Atchley said.

In addition, the Public Market holds events of its own, including a Fall Festival planned for Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 23.

The Fall Festival will feature a Halloween costume parade and contest and customers can make donations to a Thanksgiving food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank.

In addition, Atchley said, those days, the Public Market will host a farm animal petting zoo, children’s craft area, pumpkin patch “featuring Cinderella and blue and white pumpkins,” country kid play areas, wacky farm photo booth and fall decorating ideas presented by designer Libby Fisher.

“There are so many things going on,” Atchley said.

Other future events include “Spooktacular,” a trick-or-treating event; “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas;” “Coffeefest;” “Streetscapes” and “Chocolatefest.” Dates are being planned.

But special events aren’t the only time shoppers can find fun and exciting things to do at Turkey Creek Public Market.

Every Saturday and Sunday, Atchley said, shoppers and visitors can play a “Public Market Trivia Game,” with prizes of merchandise from various vendors.

One of the most popular — and surprising, to Atchley — things going on at the Market every weekend is face painting.

“We have three face painters come in, and the kids are just coming in from everywhere to get their faces painted. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” he laughed.

Also popular is a seasonal Harvest and Halloween store, Atchley said.

“It is so pretty and so much fun. It just opened the other day. ... That season will eventually change from Harvest to Christmas. And there, just outside that area, we’ll have Santa coming with a large sleigh,” Atchley said.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures during the holiday season, he added.

All of the Public Market’s food vendors are now open, include Denton’s — serving its popular Orange Julius — and three concepts run by Gail Honeycutt, owner of Puleo’s.

Atchley and his partners, including Turkey Creek Land Partners principal John Turley, spent millions of dollars renovating the former Outlet Mall space.

“We’ve put a lot of money in this, and now we’re working it. We have this facility and we’re working it and making sure it’s something that’s good for the community. And it has been so far.

“People are loving it. People are coming back,” Atchley said.

Turkey Creek Public Market is open weekends: from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday.

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