With nearly 100 local businesses slated to participate Thursday, July 21, the 57th annual Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale is again expected to draw at least 10,000 savvy shoppers over the course of the day — that'd be sunup to sundown, or roughly 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
While Massachusetts Street, particularly the stretch between the 600 and 1000 blocks, tends to attract the biggest crowds, bargain hunters would be remiss to not venture off the beaten path, says Sally Zogry, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. Venues located a little farther down Massachusetts Street — or just off it — boast their fair share of treasures, too.
Also, “Just because a business is not outside does not mean they’re not participating,” Zogry advises.
Among her tips: Dress for the weather, stop by the cooling stations to keep hydrated, visit the portable toilets at the breezeways in the 700 and 800 blocks of Massachusetts Street if you need to, and bring a buddy — “it’s more fun,” Zogry says. Those arriving early in the morning may have more merchandise to choose from, but often the best deals are found later in the evening.
“There’s a little something for everyone,” she says. “If you’re somebody who wants to get the $5 deal, you can get it. You can outfit your whole house, your closet, your dog or cat.”
Or, forget about the shopping (at least momentarily) and stop by the Journal-World’s booth at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets for Town Talk Live with managing editor Chad Lawhorn (there will also be gift card giveaways, to further entice you) from 8 to 11 a.m.
In the meantime, we’ve compiled a short-ish rundown of a handful of the many businesses (because there are really too many to mention here) participating in the sale this year. We’ve also pointed out where to cool off, find food and get your face painted. Good luck, shoppers!
Waxman Candles, 609 Massachusetts St.
Take a respite from the heat (you won’t find goods on the sidewalk here, for obvious reasons) inside Waxman Candles, where all votive candles are marked down to $1.10. Various candle holders and other odds and ends will also be on sale.
The Raven Book Store, 6 E. Seventh St.
Enjoy a 12-percent discount on everything inside the shop, plus markdowns on some greeting cards — 25 cents each or five for a dollar.
Ruff House Art, 729 Massachusetts St.
Load up on discounted stationery essentials such as greeting cards, envelopes, cardstock and gift wrap at the letterpress shop, which is also slashing prices by 10 percent storewide.
Dusty Bookshelf, 708 Massachusetts St.
Everything’s marked down inside the shop (employees are keeping things hush-hush on specifics for now) and out, where sidewalk shoppers can snatch up books at $2 or less a pop.
Made, 737 Massachusetts St.
Browse through Made’s inventory of gift-y (and often locally made or local-centric) items — which include jewelry, prints, flatware and other home goods — all at 10-percent off. Also, keep an eye out for deeper cuts on select products around the store.
Cooling station: Take a load off at the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Massachusetts St.
Fortuity, 809 Massachusetts St.
Cash-strapped fashionistas, pay heed: Starting at 5 a.m., the trendy boutique will offer racks of clothing with some items marked down to $5. Special giveaways, extra discounts and other surprises will be offered throughout the day.
Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop, 804 Massachusetts St.
Sunflower is historically one of the busiest locales as far as bang-for-your-buck deals go, and this year’s sale is no exception: All past-season inventory — including winter clothing, shoes and accessories — will be marked down by at least 50 percent. All other items, i.e. bikes and summer gear, will be discounted 10 percent.
Love Garden, 822 Massachusetts St.
It’s a music lover’s paradise at the downtown emporium of all things cool, where shoppers can peruse 10-percent-off new CDs and LPs, 30-percent-off used CDs and hundreds of $1 records. The store is also selling limited-edition Love Garden tank tops in honor of the Sidewalk Sale.
Cooling station: Escape from the heat at TCBY, 845 Massachusetts St., and Pickleman’s Gourmet Café, where free cookies will also be handed out, at 818 Massachusetts St.
Refreshments: Air Summer Sno will be selling shaved ice to hungry shoppers in front of the law offices at 808 Massachusetts St. toward the end of the day.
Yarn Barn, 930 Massachusetts St.
Stock up on overstock and newly discontinued yarn, plus a few sample garments, for 35- to 50-percent-off. Then get to work on that scarf idea you saved on Pinterest ages ago, because winter is coming.
Weavers, 901 Massachusetts St.
You’ll find pretty much any and everything marked down at the department store, from clothing to home wares. Some noteworthy deals include Weavers’ inventory of high-end Wusthof knives, which will start at $5.99 for the paring variety, as well as unspecified (but steep, Weavers assures us) markdowns on linens and Fiestaware. Also enjoy up to half-off all luggage, 50- to 60-percent cuts in women’s shoes, accessories, sunglasses and jewelry, and hundreds of dresses and in-season women’s sportswear for $9.99 and up. In the men’s section, look out for deals on Bill’s Khakis shorts and long-sleeved shirts.
The Toy Store, 936 Massachusetts St.
Enjoy markdowns of 20- to 50-percent-off at the Toy Store, where you’ll find a large offering of discounted doll furniture, books and Playmobil products in particular.
Refreshments: Fuel up at the Mad Greek, 907 Massachusetts St., where employees will be selling coffee and pastries in the morning hours. Also, check out the food hub at the U.S. Bank Plaza, 900 Massachusetts St., where La Familia Café & Cantina, Fine Thyme Food and Chocolate Moonshine Co. will be selling everything from breakfast burritos to fudge for hungry passersby.
Amusements: Get your face painted (for fun, or because you’re looking to intimidate your fellow shoppers with a little war paint) at Aunt Nancy’s Face Art, 944 Massachusetts St. Also, take a dance break at the U.S. Bank plaza (900 Massachusetts St.) with Jami Amber Lynne during the Brown Bag concert from noon to 1 p.m.
1000 and 1100 Blocks
Urban Outfitters, 1013 Massachusetts St.
Take 50 percent off (or 55 percent, if you’ve got the Urban Outfitters app) all sale items in the hipster haven, which includes men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.
Cooling stations: Rest up at the Granada Theater, 1020 Massachusetts St., and the Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
Refreshments: ManaBar tea lounge, 1111 Massachusetts St., will be parked outside with hand-squeezed lemonade and iced tea (including locally brewed kombucha) for sale.
Here’s a bit of cheery news on a dreary Monday, at least for those of us who appreciate a good beer: The wildly popular Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition has set a date for this year’s event in Lawrence, slated for March 5 at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.
(“Wildly popular” is not hyperbolic newspaper speak here: Downtown Lawrence Inc., a co-sponsor of the expo, reported that 500 tickets were purchased in a single minute during last year’s sales.)
The fifth annual event, which attracts craft breweries of varying sizes from across the region, will offer two sessions this year, from noon to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m. Also on the roster: food, music, merchandise, informational and educational displays, and beer samples galore.
The Kansas Craft Brewers Guild, along with Downtown Lawrence Inc., sponsor the annual event with help from organizer and Free State Brewing Co. owner Chuck Magerl.
Tickets are slated to go on sale Friday. The expo's website claims tickets have already sold out, but a representative from Downtown Lawrence Inc. has assured us the website simply hasn't been fully updated since last year's event, hence the premature "sold out" notice. Tickets will go on sale Friday as planned.
Details, including ticket information, are available at www.kscraftbrewfest.com.
If you missed out on last month's Oktoberfest at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, you're in luck: This weekend promises even more German food, beer and merrymaking when the inaugural Oktoberfest Lawrence takes place.
The Chamber and Downtown Lawrence Inc. are teaming up to host the event, slated for 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library Civic Plaza, 707 Vermont St.
Sally Zogry, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., says the idea was originally discussed more than two years ago, when she and DLI board member Mike Logan considered the possibility of a fall event with a cultural element. Oktoberfest, she says, stuck out to her because of our state’s widespread and celebrated German heritage — “you gotta have an Oktoberfest in Kansas,” Zogry says.
Some of you may be wondering how the St. John celebration, which was held late last month and will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, factors into this. (It doesn't.)
“That’s such a longstanding and very loved event by not only the St. John community but the Lawrence community as well,” Zogry says. “That’s why we wanted to space ours a month apart, so we wouldn’t be seen as competition for them.”
Zogry is expecting about 2,000 people at the inaugural Oktoberfest Lawrence, which will be held “rain or shine” at the library plaza.
From the looks of the online schedule, it’ll include all the basic tenets of the traditional German celebration: a biergarten tent sponsored by Crown Automotive with around a dozen different varieties of beer plus wine, alpine music from the Happy Wanderers and Festhaus-Musikanten, and a Samuel Adams Stein Hoisting Competition in which contestants battle it out to see who can hold a stein filled with 32 ounces of beer the longest without their poor arm falling off.
(That’s an exaggeration, obviously, but 32 ounces — well, let’s just say I never could complete a pull-up in gym class. Strong people, take note: Winning this contest earns you a chance to compete for the national championship and a trip to Munich Oktoberfest in 2016.)
For those under 21, Oktoberfest Lawrence boasts plenty of family-friendly fun, from a strolling stilt-walker to a vaudeville show to face painting.
Then, of course, there’s the food. The Burger Stand, Fine Thyme Food, Free State Brewing Co., Leeway Franks and Juice Stop will all be on hand with a variety of authentic German (or German-inspired) treats for sale.
Meat lovers should have plenty of options, as you might expect — no shortage of bierocks, sausages and schnitzel here — but Zogry says vendors tried to incorporate more than a few vegetarian options as well.
The Burger Stand is offering a veggie burger, Fine Thyme has a local root vegetable goulash pretzel bierock on the menu, and, this being Oktoberfest, German potato salad will abound.
Zogry already has her sights set on Fine Thyme’s German chocolate cake crepe.
“It’s got a chocolate batter and a chocolate filling, with coconut and caramel,” she says. “My mouth is watering just thinking about it.”
Tickets for Oktoberfest Lawrence range from $10 to $20 (children under 12 get in free) and can be purchased in person at The Chamber, Downtown Lawrence Inc., The Granada Theater, Phoenix Gallery, Weaver's department store or at the door the day of the event.
For more information, including a full schedule of events and how to purchase tickets online, visit downtownlawrence.com.
Expect plenty of decomposing eye sockets, severed limbs, and maybe even an undead doggie or two when the ninth annual Zombie Walk returns to wreak havoc downtown Thursday evening.
The event is slated to begin at 6 p.m., with participants dressed in their finest zombie attire gathering at South Park. Then, when the sun sets, they'll shuffle north on the east side of Massachusetts Street to Seventh Street before making their way back on the west side of Massachusetts Street.
The “zombies,” of course, aren’t just there to freak out unknowing passersby — they’re also raising money for the Lawrence Humane Society, with all proceeds and collections going toward the organization. (Though, given the level of enthusiasm some folks have lavished on their costumes and makeup in recent years, a few good-natured scares are a definite possibility.)
“It’s kind of like trick-or-treating for grownups, in a way. This is your chance to dress up and participate in that Halloween fun,” says Sally Zogry, executive director of Downtown Lawrence, Inc. “People go all out.”
All ages are welcome to participate in the festivities, which include a costume contest, food and drinks, photo shoots and more. Admittance is free, though “zombies” looking to add some authenticity to their getup can pay extra for a splash of fake blood or an undead makeover from professional makeup artists.
Official Zombie Walk T-shirts and koozies will also be available for purchase.
An afterparty in the “Zombie Safe Zone” next to The Granada Theater and the “Fallout Shelter” inside the Granada’s lounge is set for 7 to 10:30 p.m. This shindig is free, and family-friendly.
If you’re really planning on making an evening of it, the Granada will also stage an 18-and-up performance (you may want to leave the kids at home for this one, unless you’re lax about stripping and raunchy humor) by Lawrence-based Foxy by Proxy burlesque troupe at 10:30 p.m. Tickets for the show, aptly titled “Foxy Zombies,” cost $10 and can be purchased online at www.thegranada.com.
Last year’s Zombie Walk drew more than a thousand “zombies” and revelers to downtown Lawrence, Zogry says. She’s hoping for more this time around.
“Let’s face it — it’s fun to be scared, I think,” says Zogry, who’s made a tradition with her kids of watching zombies pass down Massachusetts Street every year. “And it’s something you can do together with friends and family.”
In other hair-raising news
Looking for even more spooky, kid-friendly things to do this week? You’re in luck.
• Friday marks the debut of the Lawrence Arts Center’s production of “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers.” Adapted from a classic Brothers Grimm tale, this local staging has transformed the Arts Center’s humble Black Box theater into a creepy haunted house.
The show opens at 7 p.m. Friday and runs through Halloween. Tickets range from $8 to $12, and can be purchased online at www.lawrenceartscenter.org, in person at 940 New Hampshire St. or by calling 843-2787.
• Also on the docket this weekend: AIM Dance Co.’s performance of “The Masque of the Red Death,” slated for Saturday at 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
This interactive performance invites audience members to travel from room to room of the Castle Tea Room, 1307 Massachusetts St., as the Edgar Allan Poe tale unfolds, encountering a new dancer — and a new piece of the story — at each stop along the way.