Parking problems at Gypsy Caravan

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Shoppers wanted good deals, but instead many got caught up in gridlock.

The Gypsy Caravan is a Memorial Day tradition for many in St. Louis, but a new venue this year made for traffic jams and frustrated customers.

The Gypsy Caravan was at UMSL for six years but, because of construction there, it moved to the Family Arena in St. Charles.

Monday, organizers had a good problem: many more people than they expected.

Bargain hunters didn't bargain on traffic tie ups on Interstate 70 and Page Avenue leading to the arena.

"We sat on the highway for about 45 minutes to almost an hour," one shopper said.

The next problem was parking.

"The parking was horrendous," Shopper Barb Hubbell said.

"We're parked probably almost a mile and a half away up in a suburb," Chris Eikmeier said.

The 2,500 spots at the Family Arena filled up fast and shuttles from the St. Charles Convention Center were slow.

"It's just a shame because it's three hours I could have been spending money and instead I'm standing there being aggravated," Norma Zack said.

Not everybody was aggravated, like vendor Dickey Dickens.

"Crowds are great," said Dickens. "I think this is one of the best venues probably that the gypsies had."

By mid-day, an estimated 1,200 people were there, what last year's event had for the entire day.

"I think the sheer number of people was unexpected," said Gypsy Caravan Spokesperson Janice Seele.

That led to growing pains said organizers. The level of pain depended on the shopper.

"It's worth the walk, everything is fine and everybody is having a great time," Kathy Byrd said.

Barb Hubbell said, "I think they're crazy to have it next year. It was so much better at UMSL."

The event has already been set for the Family Arena for next year.

Organizers say they will fix the problems by then.


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