National News

Parking Policy Closes WMF Marketplace

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – It was a parking policy that created a glitch during an otherwise smoothly run World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, forcing vendors to shut down their exhibits early.

During late afternoon breakout sessions Sept. 24, most of the 320 vendors in the exhibit hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center unexpectedly started to break down their tables and booths.

World Meeting officials informed the unhappy vendors that even though they were under contract to display their wares until 1 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 25, the City of Philadelphia would begin closing parking garages on Friday morning ahead of Pope Francis’ scheduled arrival in the city Sept. 26.

The vendors were told they would need to vacate the “Marketplace” area consisting of two very large exhibit halls at the convention center by 10 a.m. Sept. 25. So vendors began packing up the evening before.

Vendors and representatives of religious organizations including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its various affiliates, the Knights of Columbus, Eternal Word Television Network, Catholic publishers, numerous religious orders, shrines, lay organizations and food outlets had paid up to $8,000, according to some vendors, to be present in the hall.