Black Friday spurs shopping, exploring, family time

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With the Thanksgiving feasting out of the way, festivities moved to locations as diverse as Williamsburg Premium Outlets and Waller Mill Park Thursday evening and into Friday as locals and visitors enjoyed Black Friday shopping, outdoor activities and more throughout the area.

Some people joined the crowds of shoppers not long after finishing dessert Thursday.

Dawn Hodges was second in a line of 100 people outside The North Face, at Williamsburg Premium Outlets. She planned her day around her tradition of braving the outlets for Black Friday deals.

“I get, pretty much, more than half (of my shopping) done,” Hodges said. “This is the beginning, and I will be almost done after I leave this outlet mall today.”

Parking lots in the Williamsburg Premium Outlets were mostly full when stores opened 6 p.m. Thursday. Other area stores — such as both Target locations and Walmart — also opened at 6 p.m., while Best Buy and Kohl’s open their doors at 5 p.m.

Shopping was strong throughout Friday.

At about 2 p.m., at least seven James City County Police officers were directing traffic on Richmond Road in front of the Outlets. James City County Deputy Chief Steve Rubino said the traffic was typical for Black Friday.

All around the area

On Friday, Colonial Williamsburg had crowds bustling through its streets, enjoying activities such as a free production of “A Christmas Carol” in Merchants Square, an annual tradition of the Virginia Theatre Machine.

“It’s a great place to be for Thanksgiving,” said Jason Reusch, a Nashville resident visiting family in Williamsburg.

He and his wife, Brooke, sat on a bench watching relatives ice skate on Duke of Gloucester Street.

“I just like to walk around the Historic District,” said Brooke Reusch, a College of William and Mary graduate. “It’s beautiful this time of year. It gets you in the mood for the season.”

The couple participated in Blue Talon Bistro’s Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and enjoyed a turkey dinner at the Williamsburg Lodge. They planned to spend the remainder of Friday shopping at the nearby Craft House and sharing more time with family.

Katie Mayfield travels with her children from Allen, Texas, to visit family in Williamsburg every Thanksgiving. They also enjoyed the colonial setting Friday as they made their way to the Cheese Shop for lunch.

“It’s a fun holiday tradition, and the kids enjoy being outside in the beautiful colonial area,” she said.

The scene at Waller Mill Park was quieter Friday afternoon. A few cars filled its parking lot, while some people walked around admiring nature and others took their boats into the reservoir’s calm waters.

Anna Kemper brought her friend, Kevin McAlpin, and her dog, Dexter, out to the park to enjoy the sunny day. On Black Friday, she lamented what she saw as misplaced priorities.

“People think way too much about buying things that they don’t need instead of caring about experiences,” she said. “This is one of my favorite spaces.”

People sought a different kind of experience at Fox Wire Farm in Toano.

Christian Quigley admired two young alpacas, Rhaenyaa and Olena, alongside his great aunt and a family friend outside the farm’s store. He also bought a sweater made from shaved alpaca fur inside the farm’s store.

“We’ve just been relaxing and having a fun family Thanksgiving,” he said, adding that he appreciates spending his Thanksgiving break in a quieter area than Boston, where he’s attending college.

Although it’s smaller than Boston, Quigley said he admired the Williamsburg area’s array of things to do during the holidays.

“It has both ways to the future and ways to the past,” he said.

Pat Jones, of Baltimore, drove about three hours to Williamsburg Friday morning with plans to stay at Williamsburg Plantation this weekend while she shops throughout the area. In an effort to avoid much of the madness, Jones said she planned to shop at Williamsburg Premium Outlets in the evening.

The 68-year-old said if everyone remains nice — and so far, she says, that’s been the case — shopping in Williamsburg gets her in the spirit of the holidays. Jones was sipping on a Mountain Dew in the back of a 40 person line at Yankee Candle, excited about shopping and the welcome respite afterward.

“You know coming in here it’s going to be crowded, it’s going to be packed, the traffic’s awful,” Jones said. “When you’re done shopping, you just go home and drink wine and relax.”

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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