ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – Gypsy Caravan organizers began turning people away around 3 pm after a storm blew through Saint Charles. Vendor`s tents shredded and merchandise blew as shoppers ran inside the family arena. It was part of a crazy day shoppers described as starting with their adventure in getting to the event.
Traffic backed up on the Page extension bridge where drivers described a Sheriff`s Deputy standing at the exit, allowing only a car or two through at a time.
Ronda Windal said, 'We just sat there. They let two people in at a time, two people in at a time, then we had a mile of open road.'
Lauren Arnet said her family found another way in. She explained, 'We ended up being able to go past a cop car and get in fairly close, but our friends who came with us had to walk two miles because they closed the roads before they were able to get here.'
Arnet said it took her friends an hour to walk in. She said this was not their typical visit, in their ten years of coming to the Gypsy Caravan. She added, 'We`ve had to split up three times because we can`t stay together in the crowds.'
The Gypsy Caravan is a 42 year old tradition organized by the Saint Louis Symphony, with its first year at the Saint Charles Family Arena. I asked Chairman Janice Seele, ' any growing pains with the new location, getting people here? (Seele responded) It`s a wonderful event. We`re going to get a ton of people through. We`re working with the deputies to clear the streets and to work on traffic flow problems these are wonderful issues to have.'
Vendors also report what seemed to be more people.
Thelma Quandt stood with her granddaughter Emma Morris and described the constant flow of people. She said, 'I told the granddaughter that you won`t get to rest much and she hasn`t gotten to rest much.' They laughed. Her business, Quandt`s Wrought Iron brought a garden full of artistic animals.
The brilliant sun made sunglasses a popular item. Whatever you could think up in your mind, you could probably find it. We saw garden beer holders to a Porky Pig cookie jar and baseball themed flamingos to colorful bird baths. It seemed everyone found something they could not pass up, even if it wasn`t easy to carry. Rick Scott showed us his 'Texas star and every year we get something from this same vendor, he`s right down there.'