The St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association's Gypsy Caravan organizes one of the largest antique, craft, and flea markets in the Midwest, with up to 20,000 people expected to attend this year. The 7 a.m. early-bird ticket grants a full two hours of perusing before general-admission ticket holders, who risk becoming antiques themselves during long waits for admittance. Nearly 400 outdoor and 72 indoor vendors will occupy booths plying antiques, collectibles, crafts, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and other unique wares. Complimentary shopper’s guides plot out retail excursions with maps, vendor lists, and navigational star charts. Browse toys, DVDs, and comic books at Tim Metzger's table; deck yourself out in vintage jewelry and custom-made apparel at the Blackberry Exchange booth; or please your feathered friends with a recycled-tire bird feeder from Chalily Pond and Gardens.
Designed for pint-probing neophytes of the 21-plus persuasion, Beer School opens an interactive window to the world of brewski connoisseury at the historic Anheuser-Busch brewery. A flight master begins your session with a beerscape rundown, including the effects of individual ingredients on the final product, as well as the secret reason behind each draft-filled flagon’s frothy top. The half-hour class also includes ample taste testing in order to differentiate the elemental baseline of Budweiser from other Anheuser-Busch elixirs. Following the class, pupils receive certificates of tasting completion and hop on a complimentary hops tour.
Marauding monsters and startling special effects thrill visitors wandering through the winding limestone caverns beneath Lemp Mansion in what HauntWorld.com called “one of the most unique and realistic haunts we've ever reviewed.” Speed passes whisk visitors past tedious lines through the gothic 1860s mansion’s ornate gates and eerie archways to a century-old freight elevator. The historic conduit drops visitors 50 feet below street level into the damp St. Louis underground, the former site of Lemp’s brewery that was abandoned more than 100 years ago due to workers’ constant bickering over the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. Rusty pipes and ancient relics of machinery decorate the musty caverns as visitors wind through 20,000 square feet of intense audio, strobe lights, fog, and moving floors. High-tech animatronics, including a massive mechanical alligator, bide their time along with hideous beasts, corpses, brawling zombie gangsters, rats, bats, and lost members of the Milwaukee Brewers. To escape, visitors must eventually scale a towering staircase to the safety of the surface while quelling urges to check whether Eurydice is behind them.
Your one-hour cruise will commence at the levee below the Gateway Arch aboard one of two 19th-century replica steamboats, either the Tom Sawyer or the Becky Thatcher. Like a real-life third person, the captain of your craft will omnisciently narrate your adventure along the St. Louis riverfront with historical factoids, geographical trivia, and wistful recollections of the way your childhood crush's hair used to sparkle in the springtime sunlight. Customers looking for even greater detail may choose to rent one of Gateway's iPods for an additional fee. This audio cruise companion whispers stories of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers' confluence into your ears, set to the sweet beats of this year's hottest jock jams. Since exercising one's vision and hearing can make one's other senses hungry, boxed lunches may be ordered in advance ($8 for a box lunch, $4 for a hot-dog lunch). You can also sniff, fondle, and purchase concessions while aboard—or enjoy a bite to eat at Gateway's Arch View Café before or after your tour.
“St. Louis is the fourth-most-haunted city in America,” the tour guide said on a tour covered by Narratively. "But your tour guide is No. 1.” That guide is David Riordan, a renaissance man who's been a commodities trader, lawyer, and Spanish real-estate seller, and now-owner of Riordan Tours. It was his time in Spain that inspired him to become a tour guide. He practiced his storytelling on the English-language radio station he bought and then began leading homespun tours through the small, picturesque town of Frigiliana.
But when the Spanish economy soured, he moved back to his native St. Louis. Now he draws on his natural talent for yarn spinning and leads groups to tourist attractions and haunted corners of the 250-year-old metropolis. Along the ghost tour, David unravels chilling yarns about events that inspired The Exorcist, the St. Louis Fire, the cholera epidemic, and spirits that still roam the streets, asking people which bus they should catch to get to the afterlife. The less spooky city tours explore the UNESCO World Heritage site Cahokia Mounds, as well as the Cardinal's Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch.
David also puts his storytelling skills to use at his Unveiled: History & Hauntings of St Louis shows. Accompanied by a folk guitarist, he regales crowds with tales of the city's history. "I can talk about anything," he told the Riverfront Times. "It's not just ghosts and spirits, [it's] the brewery, steamboats, gangsters."