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Forget the worms; these early birds caught the bargains - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

Forget the worms; these early birds caught the bargains

Shoppers head to downtown Asbury Avenue in pajamas for early sales, hospitality

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Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:00 am

There are few things worth getting up early for a day off, but on Saturday, Nov. 20, shoppers on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City were glad they could rise and shine.

In the annual “Earlier Than the Bird” event, shoppers were encouraged to head down to the shops on Asbury Avenue in their pajamas, to take advantage of special sales, free coffee, no crowds and unmatched customer service.

Dozens made the trek – along with some non-jammie-clad sale seekers as well, to scoop up some pre-Thanksgiving bargains.

Just after 8 a.m., Meghan Plunkett and Vanessa Fry, both of Pennsylvania, said the event sounded like fun and they had decided to check it out. Both said they were having fun shopping in their pajamas, despite the early hour, and found plenty of gift ideas in the shops.

Catharine Piper, a native Ocean City resident and first time Early-Birder, said the morning was yielding good sales.

“This is fun. This is my first time shopping in my pajamas. It’s so comfortable,” Piper said. “Ocean City is like no other town. I love it.”

Nancy Miller, owner of Sun Rose Words and Music, was having a booming morning. Miller said there was a mix of “normal shoppers” and the pajama-clad crowd and that everyone was having a good time.

The quartet of Mary DiPilla, Donna Ney, Sue Kramer and Pat Lorenz, all strolling the 800 block of Asbury in matching pajamas, were the epitome of the fun-seeking shopping crowd.

It was girls weekend, DiPilla said, and their second year of hitting the early bird event in pajamas. They had so much fun the prior year, she said, that Lorenz was put in charge of the matching pajamas for this year’s adventure.

“We’re finding great deals, we can wander around and shop,” Ney said. “It’s been a pleasure this morning, with the quaintness of the stores and the hospitality of the store owners.”

“You can’t find customer service like this at the mall,” DiPilla added.

At 901 Asbury, a outdoor coffee stop provided the fuel to keep the shopping going.

Marcia Shallcross, director of Ocean City Main Street, worked the coffee stop and was thrilled with the turnout.

“It is going great. There are tons of people and they’re having lots of fun in their pajamas,” she said, just as the clock struck 9 a.m.

Shallcross said the enthusiasm and efforts of the store owners was playing a big part in the day’s success. The weather, she said, also helped the cause, as by 9 a.m. it was sunny and about 50 degrees, with only a light breeze.

“It’s the perfect weather for strolling and shopping,” Shallcross said. “You want it cool, so they start to feel the holiday spirit, but its sunny and warm enough to stroll, even in your pajamas.”

Wandering amid the shoppers was Santa Claus, who fit in perfectly with the many shop windows that were already displaying the spirit of the holiday. At the coffee stop at 9th and Asbury, shoppers also could get free Ocean City totebags – many of which were later seen along the avenue, full of purchases – calendars and schedules of upcoming events.

The event captured the spirit, serving as a perfect kickoff to the upcoming holiday events in the downtown and gave some bright eyed shoppers a chance to bust out their best jammies while finding some great bargains in local shops.

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