Shoppers crowd stores on Black Friday

Published: Nov 23 2012 07:44:47 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 23 2012 05:22:34 PM EST
Black Friday shopping

Hordes of shoppers descended on stores to snap up the best deals of the year.

"This is an adventure, fun. Just have to know where to go and avoid some places," said shopper John Savitz, of Tamaqua, Schuylkill Co., who had been shopping sinceĀ 4 p.m. Thursday.

Savitz wasn't the only weary-eyed bargain hunter. Susan Myers of Palmerton, Carbon Co., started at 9 p.m. Thursday.

"I feel guilty about this mostly myself. I know it will fit," Myers said.

Some 146 million Americans were expected to take to the stores this weekend, and they are doing it earlier than ever. Many places opened on Thanksgiving

Cars at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co., were packed predawn. The mall opened at midnight for the first time.

"They wanted to open at midnight. I know a lot of shoppers tradition to shop and they love going after Thanksgiving dinner," said Amanda Johnson, a mall spokeswoman.

With many stores now opening on Thanksgiving and discounted deals done throughout the year, has Black Friday's economic importance faded?

"Black Friday is still crucial day for business," said Nolan Ivory, of J.C. Penney. "It's really going to give you a gauge of the entire holiday season, the six weeks going through the holiday."

Black Friday veteran Donna Hertzog, however, said she doesn't dig the new trend. She ditched the Thanksgiving deals to spend time with family.

"I believe they're taking the fun out of it. Was a game between my daughter, my sister and me to see who gets the best buy and that sort of thing," said Hertzgog. "Not as fun as used to be when all stores opened at the same time."