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Monday, November 14, 2011

Metro Detroit: Shop 'til you drop; everyone loves a parade

    One-Tank Trip published on Nov. 12/13, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Shop ’til you drop could have a new meaning for “Black Friday” shoppers heading to the U.S.
   It might be called the turkey trot as there will be hardly enough time for that U.S. Thanksgiving dinner to digest when shoppers will be hitting the malls in Metro Detroit, joined by bargain hunters from Ontario.
   That’s because one of the largest and most popular shopping destinations, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, 30 minutes north of downtown Detroit, opens at 9 p.m. on Nov. 24, the evening of the U.S. Thanksgiving.
   The 1,000-seat food court at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills has children’s rides including a carousel. (Jim Fox photo)

   “The mall will be open straight through 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 for 25 hours of continuous shopping and specials,” said Melissa Morang, marketing and sponsorship director.
   “Black Friday,” so named because that’s when many retailers go into the black for annual sales, is the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day in the U.S.
   The holiday in Metro Detroit also includes “America’s Thanksgiving Parade,” one of the country’s oldest, largest and most celebrated events.
   And, sports fans will fill Ford Field as the Detroit Lions take on the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Green Bay Packers.
   “Canadians can take advantage of all the exceptional shopping deals and while in town, we hope they also try our great restaurants and make time to check out our world-class museums and attractions,” said Renee Monforton of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

   Attention shoppers
   “Blue light” specials will be in abundance, with Ontario residents elbowing their way in, to get the bargains.
   With Canada’s stronger dollar, Michigan’s low six-per-cent sales tax and larger selection of stores and goods, it’s not surprising Canadians at times make up to 40 per cent of the visitors to Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.
   Along with its opening at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night, Toys R Us in Metro Detroit will open at 10 p.m. and Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Macy’s plan to start selling at midnight.
   A popular shopping spot for Canadians is Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills north of downtown Detroit that will open early for “Black Friday” shoppers. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Great Lakes is Michigan’s largest indoor regional outlet centre and entertainment venue at I-75 and Baldwin Road with 185 shops, restaurants and entertainment options.
   These include manufacturer outlets, themed restaurants, a 1,000-seat food court and 25-screen theatre megaplex stretched out along a “single-level racetrack design" of 1.6 kilometres.
   Some three dozen stores and eateries have been added recently including Love Culture Outlet, Lucky Brand Jeans, DKNY, J. Crew Factory Store, Levi’s Outlet, PUMA, Bachrach Outlet and coming soon, Charming Charlie.
   Among the 50 stores not found elsewhere in Michigan are Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Disney Store Outlet, Rainforest Cafe, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th and Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center.

   Cash in and stay over
   Canadians can find greater savings by picking up a free Visitors Savings Pass with deals at more than 90 stores.
   There are overnight shopping packages at partner hotels including the Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Drury Inn & Suites.
   Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. www.greatlakescrossingoutlets.com; 1-877-SHOP-GLC

   Everyone loves a parade
   Hundreds of thousands of people will jam downtown Detroit on Thanksgiving morning to watch the two-hour 85th annual parade.
   One of the oldest and largest Thanksgiving Day parades in the U.S. takes place in downtown Detroit and last two hours. (Handouts – The Parade Co.)
   There will be “crowd favorites and new surprises” with more than 60 parade units, including floats, balloons, marching bands, clowns and specialty acts,” said publicist Carly Strachan for the Parade Co.
   The 2.5-kilometre-long parade steps off at 9:05 a.m. at Woodward Avenue and Mack and ends at Woodward and Congress.
   A highlight will be the new "big head” – that of Michigan native and NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
   More than 100 “big heads” will be marching in “America’s Thanksgiving Parade” in Detroit. (Photo by Howrani Studios)
   The papier-mache rendering will join some 100 other marching big heads that include representations of Aretha Franklin, Joe Louis and Bob Seger.
   There are 10,000 grandstand seats available in prime locations for parade viewing from $30 US each.
   Before the parade at 7:30 a.m., there will be about 20,000 runners taking part in the Turkey Trot 10k race. www.theparade.org; (313) 923-7400.

   Also downtown is Christmas WonderFest at Campus Martius Park.
   This new indoor-outdoor festival features an International and Motor City marketplace, carousel, Ferris wheel and visits with Santa Claus through Thanksgiving weekend. www.christmaswonderfest.com
   The park has a huge lighted Christmas tree, ice-skating rink and Arctic blast ice slide open through the winter. www.campusmartiuspark.org
   Detroit visitor information: www.visitdetroit.com; 1-800-DETROIT


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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