FARMINGTON — While hunters prepare for Saturday’s first day of hunting, downtown Farmington is preparing for early morning shoppers for the annual Early Bird sales.

The event was started by Reny’s department stores years ago for hunters’ wives. Sales and specials at several businesses begin at 6 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1.

“The men go out hunting and the women go shopping,” Emily Hartung of Calico Patch said. “We are gearing up for customers to come in and start on their holiday shopping.”

The customers do come that early, Tom Burr, manager of Reny’s in Farmington,  said.

“Last year we had between 165 to 175 people waiting in a line for our 6 a.m. opening,” he said. 

The line flowed down Broadway and curved around onto Main Street, he said. He knows the number because they count at the door, he said.

Some stores like Reny’s and Everyday Music offer sales until 9 a.m. with some special discounts based on how early shoppers arrive.

A popular sale of movie tickets for Narrow Gauge Cinema takes place again from 6 to 9 a.m. at the theater.

Some stores, such as Calico Patch on Broadway and Divine Inspirations on Front Street, extend the festivities all day. Calico Patch’s sale goes on until 5 p.m., Hartung said. Divine Inspirations opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

For years, Reny’s has offered a percentage off on some name-brand clothing and toys between 6 and 8 a.m. and a sale throughout the store continues until 9 a.m., Burr said. After that it’s Saturday business as usual.

“It’s a fun day,” Burr said. “We look forward to it even the day afterward. We’re thinking about how we can top it next year.”

Clerks and customers are in a good mood, he said.

“They don’t even mind waiting in line,” Burr said. “We go through the line offering munchkins and coffee.”

Clerks dressed in night clothes, music and refreshments are part of the experience sponsored annually by the Farmington Downtown Association.

“We have wonderful local customers and it’s a wonderful way to say thank you for shopping local,” Hartung said.

Other opportunities for local holiday shopping are being planned, she said.

An all-day Ladies Day Out in downtown Farmington takes place Nov. 15. Gift bags for participating women will be available at Calico Patch. 

Women will also have an opportunity to fill out a wish list at each store to give male shoppers holiday ideas during Men’s Night Out from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 21.

Black Friday and Shop Local Saturday follow Thanksgiving, then it’s on to Chester Greenwood Day on Dec. 6, she said.

Topping off the shopping experience Saturday is an “early-riser breakfast” from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church at Main and Academy streets.

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