Parking problems at Gypsy Caravan leave shoppers and vendors frustrated

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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.'

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  • Fred Miller

    We’ve been going to Gypsy Caravan since it was at the old Areana.

    This was HORRIBLE!

    We waited over an hour to get to the parking lot that was FILLED, and had to walk from the QuickTrip to the Arena.

    POOR Planing!

    Go back to UMSL!

  • Tracy

    Disgusted. Sat in line for an hour only to be told by a cop that we had to go to the convention center for a shuttle. Line at center was ridiculous and there was only one shuttle. Friends with us that took off from work and traveled from Springfield. We are all out of our money and are completely turned off by the whole thing. Never again!

  • D.

    Perhaps Janice Seele, organizer should go sit on the bridge for 1:45 minutes, then another 45 minutes on the road leading to the arena, only to be told to go to the Convention Center, to stand in a two hour line for 1 shuttle. We left with our pre-purchased wristbands, and won’t be back if this event stays at this location. These are not wonderful issues to have, Janice……that comment is an insult to your paying customers.

  • Eliza

    Was a horrible experience sitting for an hour then being told to go to the Convention Center for a shuttle. First didn’t know how to get there and second could only imagine what a debacle that would be! Ended up leaving and vowing not to return to Gypsy Caravan at this venue. As the above commentor mentioned, the organizer stating this was a “wonderful problem to have” was a total insult to those experiencing the problem.

  • Ashley

    We have been coming to the gypsy caravan for years, and this years experience had us walking away saying “if they don’t fix this parking debacle we won’t be back”. We drove nearly an hour to be told the parking lot was full and to go to the convention center. When we arrived at the coventiom center the line for the shuttle was a few hundred people long. We waited an hour and a half for a shuttle which only left us about an hour to browse the vendors before the storm hit. We purposely arrived earlier in the day so we could head out before the storm. I hope they get more shuttles or add more parking for the following years if this venue remains the same!

  • nancy donahue

    It was my first time and the people that were with me,it was their first.Not only did we wait in traffic an hour and find out there were no more parking places,we got a ticket and I had to go pay that today,because we were on the grass.The venders were too crammed and jammed together and inside the arena,it was worse.Hardly any bathrooms or porta pottys,and there were no benches or anywhere to sit down inside or out.inside,it was a joke.You couldn’t even get close to the venders,there were too many people and too close together.We will never go again!

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