A new Memorial Day tradition on Cherokee Street’s Antique Row

ST. LOUIS – A portion of Cherokee Street in St. Louis shut down on Memorial Day for a new event centered on old treasures.

More than 100 antique dealers and artists endured a heat index in the mid-90s to show off their creations and antiques! Deal seekers swarmed the 6 blocks of Cherokee Street from Jefferson Avenue to Lemp Avenue, scouting out one-of-a-kind finds from tiny trinkets or perhaps that lime upholstered chair they’ve always wanted.

This new event is "The Cherokee Caravan Antiques and Art Bazaar." Organizers said it’s the largest turnout they’ve ever seen in the history of Cherokee Antique Row and one they hope to make a Memorial Day tradition.

“We wanted to open it up because our street is very diverse,” said John Klynott, president of the Cherokee Antique Row Merchants Association. “We’re not just antique shops anymore. We’re skateboard shops, we are record stores, we have so much going on on the street that’s beyond the traditional what you would think to have on Antique Row.”

John Klynott started organizing the event in January after the Gypsy Caravan ended its 45-year run, which benefited the St. Louis Symphony. The symphony said revenues were not enough to make up for the cost, which disappointed vendors.

“I was disappointed,” said Chris O’Hare, who collects and sells valuable antiques. “It was one of the biggest markets of the whole year. It’s the one you looked forward to, it’s the one you’d hold your best merchandise for, it’s the one you sell to your favorite customers and without it, Memorial Day is just another day.”

O’Hare was thrilled to see Cherokee Caravan a success from the time she started unloading her van at 5 a.m.

“Lots of customers, so many more than I thought was possible on this little short section of street. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Klynott knew merchants would need another place to sell otherwise they'd take a hit. Cherokee Caravan has been the answer.

“It’s flowy, it’s a nice environment, so it’s fun, and you have trees with a lot of shade,” said Rosalind Leaks-Jones, owner of Vintageously Yours.

Aside from the shade, there were plenty of shops where hot, thirsty shoppers could escape the heat for a bit.

“We hope that this will become our new Memorial Day tradition for the future and we hope that it will continue to grow and expand and be just a really positive event that brings people to Cherokee to feel safe to shop and have a great day,” Klynott said.