Sidewalk Sale draws thousands downtown despite heat wave

Shoppers search through the outdoor racks of clothing during the Downtown Sidewalk Sale on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

Despite high temperatures throughout the day, organizers of the 58th annual Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale said shoppers turned out at about the same level as past years.

“You worry when it’s so hot, when they’re talking incessantly about how hot it’s going to be, but people came out,” Downtown Lawrence Inc. Director Sally Zogry said.

While there is not a precise way to estimate the crowd for the annual downtown sale, Zogry said there were several thousand shoppers.

“I have interviewed several business owners, and they felt like it went very well,” she said.

The high temperature for the day was 100 degrees, with a heat index near 110 degrees. In addition to the free water and cooling stations typically provided, Zogry said several businesses gave away snow cones or popsicles and the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department set up two misting stations.

About 130 stores offered discounts on merchandise for this year’s sale, Zogry said. While there weren’t as many early-morning shoppers as in past years, Zogry said several business owners told her that overall sales went well.

“They didn’t necessarily sell more items, but the average ticket was higher,” Zogry said. “People were spending, and I saw a lot of shopping bags.”