Groups of people walked through Saskatoon’s downtown core on a balmy Thursday afternoon, stopping every half block or so to take in the outdoor displays, with clothing-laden racks and jewelry displays out in full ivew.
Amid the easing COVID-19 pandemic, the Downtown Saskatoon Sidewalk Sale has returned.
“I see our cross street banner flying across the street,” Downtown Saskatoon Program Director Sarah Marchildon said. “We see music happening, we see stores with their stuff on the sidewalks; like we always used to, and the people are milling about hunting for good deals.”
Nearly 20 different businesses are taking part in the 45th annual summer attraction, a sign of a return to normalcy. Something that downtown business owners are greatly appreciative of after a long 16-month stretch dealing with pandemic restrictions.
“It’s probably been the toughest year in our history of being open,” Bricker’s Shoes owner Daniel Cote said. “There (were) times where the parking was empty, nobody was walking the streets.”
“It’s been a little tougher through COVID,” Manhattan Casuals co-owner Carol Dyck agreed. “But, it’s getting better now for sure.”
This rendition of the annual sale may look unlike any of its pre-COVID inceptions, however, there will be a second sale that runs from Aug. 12-14.
The second installment will be well after the province has reopened, and will feature the traditional shutdown of 2nd Avenue.
“Everyone’s looking forward to (the August sale),” Dyck said. “Where we can have all of our customers, have downtown, have the streets blocked off, it’s just such an exciting time.”
“I think this morning’s been so-far-so-good,” Cote said. “A lot of people are looking forward to the streets opening for the sidewalk sale.”
Even though the August edition will seem familiar to many who’ve attended over the years, it will have a few new wrinkles for all to enjoy.
“I’m working on getting the most humongous slide in probably the province,” Marchildon said. “To slide into sidewalk sale.”
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