Do you smell that? It’s the scent of a dang good sale in the heat of the summer. If you have never heard of Sidewalk Sale, or perhaps only heard tales but have yet to find that heart-stopping bargain of your own…you are in for a treat. Sidewalk Sale has been a Lawrence tradition for 59 years now. I first heard about Sidewalk Sale as a freshman at KU. My orientation leader turned out to be in the circle of friends I made, and come winter time, he wore an infamous, neon-orange puffer jacket.
“Oh, this?” he said. “I got it at Sidewalk Sale.”
An instant legend was born. The jacket was conspicuous, sure, but very good quality at an even better price. And to top it off, it came with a story that, to my out-of-state self, seemed dreamily distant. I was destined for my hometown in Arizona that summer, far from Massachusetts Street and it’s famous summer sale. I really did hear tales of crowded sidewalks and amazing sale prices all year long. Now, I will be working my third Sidewalk Sale. So what exactly is all the hype about? Read on to find out.
Who: Stores along Mass St., big and small. Some of the most sought-after deals are from Urban Outfitters and Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Co.
What: A sale…on the sidewalk. I don’t know why, but it works. Stores put out racks, tables, boxes, you name it, all full of super discounted items for your viewing and buying pleasure. Some stores have sales going on inside that day, too (but that just isn’t as much fun, is it?).
When: Sidewalk Sale is always the third Thursday of July, which means this year it will be July 19th. The sale is from sunup to sundown, which means some stores open as early as 5:00 or 6:00 am. Keep in mind that mid July means some serious heat will be building throughout the day. I got stationed at an outdoor cash register for my first Sidewalk Sale…let’s just say that I have never sweat more in my entire life, and I’m from Arizona. That just means you’ll have to arrive early to beat the heat-and the other shoppers! There are also cooling stations where you can enjoy some air conditioning and water, free of charge.
Where: Massachusetts Street. Because when isn’t something spectacularly Lawrence-esque going on here?
Why: Lawrence is the champion of unique, fun, wacky, and unconventional. If this town wants to have a sale out on the sidewalk then my goodness, everyone is going to get behind it! It is the biggest sale of the year and there truly will be thousands of shoppers out hunting for that special find. It’s a brilliantly fun way to get out onto Mass St., support the community, and get some seriously great deals.
Kate is a recent KU graduate and perpetual lover of words, details, and Jayhawk basketball. She is using her English degree to write both creatively and strategically. You can find more of her work on her blog, A Story By Me.