Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale deemed a success despite heat

photo by: Richard Gwin

From left, Katie Burenheide and her daughter Brianna, both of Lawrence, hit the Sidewalk Sale early on Thursday, July 21, 2016, in downtown Lawrence.

Blazing-hot temperatures didn’t seem to keep bargain hunters away from downtown Lawrence Thursday, as thousands of shoppers descended upon Massachusetts Streets and its side streets for the 57th annual Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale.

Nearly 100 businesses participated in this year’s event, which typically lasts from sunup to sundown — or roughly 6 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Thursday evening, Sally Zogry, executive director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., reported an attendance “fairly typical” of past sales, though she speculates the much-publicized excessive heat warning may have kept some shoppers away. Temperatures edged on 100 degrees Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

photo by: Richard Gwin

Two-year-old Leona Richardson, of Lawrence, watches as she has flowers painted on her arm at the Sidewalk Sale in downtown Lawrence on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

Surprisingly, she says, “People were upbeat. People were spending,” with some traveling from outside the Lawrence area and taking off work just to attend the sale.

As in previous years, shoppers were provided designated cooling stations and free water by downtown vendors. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire-Medical personnel were also on hand in case of emergency, Zogry said. To her knowledge, none was reported.

Perennial Sidewalk Sale favorites such as Urban Outfitters, Weaver’s Department Store, Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, Hobbs and Phoenix Gallery seemed to attract the biggest crowds, Zogry noted.

“It’s just a big day for Lawrence,” she said of the sale. “It’s a huge sales tax day, most likely the biggest of the year, which supports our entire community.”