The road leading to this Missouri River town was gridlocked Saturday, but not with the shoppers usually drawn to its gift and antique shops.
The traffic was welcomed anyway by business owners and residents hoping the cars carried more volunteers to help stem flooding along Main Street."I've helped empty stores, I've been sandbagging, I've done whatever they need," said Debbie Clevenger, who lives about 15 minutes from Parkville in Platte Woods.
"I know this town and I love this town. I have to help."
Clevenger and hundreds of other men, women, teenagers and children were helping fill and stack sandbags to protect the dozen or so businesses such as Crafty Cottage and Kalico Korner that draw hundreds of window-shoppers on sunny weekend days.
About 4 feet of sandbags, stacked across the southern end of Main Street, separated the bulging Missouri River from the district's shops in this Kansas City suburb of 2,400.
At one shop, The Inside Scoop, owner Rhonda Doyle and her family loaded up gift baskets, flowers, balloons and ribbons to move to their homes.
"We just opened for business on July 1. We just finished unpacking our inventory, really, and now we're packing it again," Doyle said, pausing before removing designer fabric from the walls.
"The landlord says we'll have 22 inches of water in here by morning. I don't want this ruined," she said.
Water lapped at the door of Doyle's shop, protected by sandbags that served as an impromptu playground for her 8-year-old daughter, Cassidy.
Jack Friedman, a Parkville alderman, said residents are having a hard time dealing with the flooding of English Landing Park at the foot of Main Street.
"We're all so proud of it, and now you can't even see it," he said.
Most people were there to help, but there were enough gawkers to get in the way, Clevenger said.
"We don't need any more people coming to watch. We need people who are here to work," she said.