It wasn’t the same old Early Bird Sale in Boothbay Harbor. The crowds were smaller and special sales lasted a little longer due to concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But hundreds of shoppers, many dressed in the traditional pajamas garb, descended on downtown Boothbay Harbor and took advantage of the pre-Black Friday shopping.
At Ae Ceramics, a small line formed prior to the store opening at 5 a.m. Nov. 14. Marion Coleman of Boothbay Harbor was dressed in her burnt orange University of Texas pajama pants. She was one of the early morning shoppers who left with two hands full of bargains. “I just walked away with a wedding present and two Christmas presents. She has great stuff and great bargains,” Coleman said.
This is Evans’ sixth year operating her ceramics store. Typically, her Early Bird sale is 50% off at 5 a.m., but this year she expanded the sale to throughout the day. “In the past it’s usually a lot busier. We didn’t expect as large a crowd so we only advertised locally with 50% off on ceramics, 40% off on furniture and 25% everything else,” she said.
The early morning sale is a tradition, now in its fourth decade. It attracts of mixture Early Bird veterans and newcomers. Boothbay resident Marilyn Tibbetts has participated in nearly every one. Her daughter Linda Vajda of Windham joined her for a shopping by street light experience. “I love the deals and it helps local business. Plus, I get to spend the day with Mom,” Vajda said. And why does her mom wake up early to shop locally? “Probably, just foolish, but it’s fun,” she said.
Another mother and daughter combination shopped the Early Bird deals. Ellen Newton of Boothbay was joined by daughters Holly White of New Hampshire along with Sybil King and Leah Kelsch of Saco. “This is my hometown and I’ve participated in as many as they’ve had,” White said. The 32nd Early Bird was also the first time for a local family to shop in the annual event together. Pnina Pangburn is usually busy working Early Bird at Dirty Bird Pottery, but the store sold out of inventory this summer and she found herself free to shop this year with her daughters. “We are out here shopping and bopping around together having a good time,” Pnina Pangburn said.
One of the most eye-catching outfits was from four friends experiencing their first Early Bird sale as a group. Dick “Jersey” Reid who works at the Thistle Inn wore an oversized baby costume more fitting for Halloween than Thanksgiving. He was joined by Joelle Harshman and Jordan Young, both of Florida, and Alex McKay, who owns Taka Mediterranean Bar and Grill and moved to Boothbay Harbor last year from California. He wore a stunning purple outfit. “We're just visiting. It’s crazy, but it’s fun,” Young said.