WACO, Texas (KWTX) Tens of thousands of “Fixer Upper” fans have converged in downtown Waco for Spring at the Silos.
(Photo by Rissa Shaw)
The event, hosted by Magnolia’s Chip and Joanna Gaines who star on the HGTV home remodeling show, kicked off Thursday and continues through Saturday.
Before the official start of the event, 9,000 people a day had come to the Magnolia Silos this week; more than 50,000 total visitors are expected by the event’s end.
The main event is a vendor fair, with 75 vendors coming in from all across America to sell their goods.
The event also includes food trucks, kid-friendly activities, grounds tours, morning yoga classes, and live music on Saturday.
Although the biggest crowds were expected on Friday and Saturday, there has been heavy traffic reported in the area all week.
A two-block stretch of Webster Avenue was shut down earlier in the week in anticipation of the crowds.
Additional police officers from the Waco Police Department were hired to direct traffic flow and keep pedestrians safe.
“Waco PD has been fantastic,” said Brock Murphy, Public Relations Director for Magnolia. “Obviously we have a couple of street closures that they've had to direct people different ways, but the church, Live Oak, everybody's been so receptive and understanding of these big crowds."
Police advised drivers in the area to seek alternate routes until Sunday, especially those wanting to travel on Interstate 35, asking them to use 18th street to access the interstate from downtown instead of 5th street or 6th street.
Magnolia offered additional ideas for locals to navigate the crowds.
“So, Silo District Trolley is obviously a free shuttle that all different parking lots that we have downtown is a flag stop, so that will be running all throughout the week,” said Murphy. “We think you'll be able to find a couple of parking spots a couple of blocks away, so not right in the near vicinity, but if you are 'ok' walking a couple of blocks, you'll get here no problem."
"We hope with all the vendors that are gonna be here, with all the activities, that they're gonna have so much to do and they can walk in all the surrounding areas, go eat at some of the restaurants and shop at these other places,” he said.
Local businesses have also been seeing the benefit from the Magnolia mob.
“It’s March Madness, so I get to watch some basketball,” said Mike Essary who was visiting from Mississippi.
Although “moms” are Magnolia’s primary audience, some dads were hanging out at The Backyard Bar and Grill nearby, blowing off some post-Silos shopping steam.
“We went to Magnolia Silos twice, yesterday and today, and it was packed,” said Essary. “It was kinda crazy downtown, but uh, it was fun, enjoyed it.”
More out-of-towners will be descending on the city Friday and Saturday, and ones who are fans of the show might get lucky: Joanna’s mom, Mrs. Stevens, was spotted at the Silos Thursday greeting visitors.
The event is free, and runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.