Fenton Ladies Night was held Friday, Nov. 13, and while fewer people attended most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers are happy with the turnout.

 Karen Piacentini, owner of Fenton’s Open Book, and local author, Brenda Hasse, organized the event. Piacentini estimated a few hundred people attended.

 Piacentini said it wasn’t overwhelming and there was a decrease in participation this year, but it was what she expected. There were shorter lines because they didn’t have punch cards this year, so the people that went into the stores did so with the purpose to shop.

 “Some stores weren’t open all night. I thought it was what I thought it would be. I didn’t really have expectations of this being like it’s been in the past,” she said. “We didn’t give out as many free books, which is fine.”

 Usually, stores will serve warm, alcoholic drinks, but Fenton’s Open Book did not so people would keep their masks on in the store. The bookstore gave out free books and surprise prizes, and local author Jodie Eckleberry signed books and talked with customers.

 “I’d rather be safe. Everyone came in with a mask and everyone was fine with it. There wasn’t an issue,” Piacentini said. “I was happy with the result, and I hope everyone else was too. I look forward to the next couple weeks of holiday shopping.”

 Fewer stores participated compared to previous years. Stores offered discounted items, deals and more, and employees and customers wore face masks.

 Store owners said they anticipated a drop in participation this year as COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and they expressed concern over keeping customers and employees safe. Many stores have signs about requiring face masks and using hand sanitizer.

 Terina Greenway, owner of Luna’s, said it’s been sparse but that she wouldn’t let it get crowded. The majority of customers wear masks and don’t cause any issues.

 “We didn’t have any problems during Witches Night except for one lady that turned around and left when I told her to wear her mask properly,” she said.

 Greenway put out disposable masks in case customers did not have one.

 “It makes doing these events a little bit more doable and a little bit more safe,” she said.

 Kevin Begola, owner of Bridge Street Exchange, said, “We’re really open minded about it. So let’s be open and let’s have a little bit of fun and try to scale things back a little bit, which we did … the expectation was to kick off the holiday season and hopefully people come down to shop.”

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