Cold winds were no match for downtown Ravenna's Midnight Madness holiday shopping spirit Friday night as families hopped from store to store for deals between activities such as chariot and trolley rides, ornament making and ice sculpture carving.
"We've only been in Ohio for a couple years and this is awesome," said K.C. Pallone, while her 7-year-old daughter Giana stayed warm by excitedly jumping in line for her chariot ride.
Pallone said the kids had fun making ornaments and holiday pictures at the Elves' Workshop in the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce.
Barb Burner, owner of House of Holiday Ornaments, was in her element Friday, as she hugged friendly faces coming into the store out of the cold before directing them to the table of cookies and meatballs.
"Even if we don't have lots of customers, the people we know come in and that's good enough," Burner said. "We only see a lot of these people from Christmas to Christmas, so it's nice to have them come in."
Black Friday morning started out as rainy and gloomy as its name. But the clouds cleared and it turned into a sunny day for shoppers looking for some of the first big deals of the season.
Donelle Howard of Akron and her mother, who were on their way to Target in Stow, have a Black Friday routine. The pair start shopping around 7 a.m. when the crowds are dwindling, and leave after the early bird specials end at 1 p.m.
"Sometimes we buy clothes or gifts," Howard said. "We come out here because it's not as crowded as the mall."
Yankee Candle, which opened in the same plaza as Target and Kohl's in February, had a successful first Black Friday, said Kasey Rohrich, second assistant manager, who had Thanksgiving dinner with her family before her 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. shift started.
"We handed out fliers to people waiting in line at Target and actually opened at 11:30 (Thursday night)," she said. "It's a great opportunity to get our name out there."
Yankee Candle's busiest hours were between midnight and 2 a.m. The crowd slowed for a while, but picked up again about 10 a.m.
"We had a great time," Rohrich said. "Our manager was great about scheduling enough people. It's been an amazing run for us."
In Streetsboro, by Friday morning there were no lines, no crowds, but lots of sales receipts in hand at local stores.
On Friday, shoppers were still seeking out bargains. Garrettsville resident Annette Yeager, a Steelers fan, said she was trying to turn her 9-month-old grandson, Isaac, to her side in the Steelers-Browns rivalry, seeking Steelers gear at Kmart for him as a Christmas present.
"His parents are Browns fans," she said with a laugh.
Downtown Kent offered a more quiet, relaxing atmosphere for people to walk around and enjoy the weather Friday morninbg.
Grant Foote, an alumnus of Theodore Roosevelt High School, and his partner, Matt Frericks, who used to work at Kent State University's Stark campus, enjoy revisiting downtown when they're in Kent.
"I'm impressed with the renovations," Foote said. "It's become a destination of restaurants and shops."
Aurora Advocate Editor Ken Lahmers, Gateway News Editor Bob Gaetjens and staff writers Kyle McDonald and Rachel Hagenbaugh contributed to this story.