FARMINGTON — There's a festive atmosphere developing downtown as businesses prepare for Saturday's annual Early Bird sales.
The day itself "is really fun and light. The atmosphere is so different. Everyone's in good spirits," said Corey Ellis, owner of Mooseville.
Many clerks and a few customers dress in pajamas and slippers as some stores start sales and shopping at 6 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.
Ellis, along with his family, wear pajamas for the day. He also wears his moose slippers and offers a special prize to customers who wear something "moosey," he said.
Started by the Reny's chain of stores years ago as a special morning of shopping for the wives left by their husbands on the first day of hunting, the local store will hold its annual sale from 6 to 9 a.m., Tom Burr, store manager, said.
Across the street, Ron Gelinas at Mainestone Jewelry said he will open at 7 a.m. and run sales till 3 p.m.
A lot of people start with Reny's and head over to the jewelry store where he's added new products, new designs of silver and expanded his Maine tourmaline jewelry, he said.
There was a really good response last year. Some people may not buy Saturday but they get some early holiday ideas and come back later, he said.
Ellis also has added more than 1,500 new items this year to the store that offers more than moose items, he said. Along with a percentage off, giveaways and refreshments at the store, people can sign up Saturday for the store's Moosemucker Club, a frequent buyer club that offers an extra discount.
The Homestead Kitchen, Bar and Bakery opens at 6 a.m. The Willy Whacks Antique Shop on Church Strteet joins the event this year.
On Front Street, Divine Inspirations offers specials all day, and the Narrow Gauge Cinema's sale of movie passes takes place in the lobby from 6 to 9 a.m.
Topping off the shopping experience, an "early-riser breakfast" takes place from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church at Main and Academy streets. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
More special events planned downtown this month are listed on the Downtown Farmington Association website at www.downtownfarmington.com