An enjoyable Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday with good friends at Blue Ridge Cafe.  Whittney Pedersen and her crew put together a lavish meal with turkey, ham and all the fixin’s with proceeds going to charity.

Our congratulations and thanks to her and those who helped her, including Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom.

Black Friday dawns crisp and cool with temperatures just below freezing at 0545 before sunrise with forecasts calling for sunny weather with a projected high around 54 degrees. It could be colder this time of year so we should enjoy the moderate weather for as long as it lasts.

The National Weather Service predicts a high of 56 degrees with a 20 percent chance of rain and then sunny for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with highs ranging from 48 to 55 — tempting conditions for time on a motorcycle.

Retail analysts tell us Black Friday, once considered the busiest shopping day of the year, isn’t what it once was.  Online shopping is one reason why 56 percent of Americans have already bought gifts for the season and other changes in retail trends show stores extended the sales of the one day through the full weekend or even the rest of November.

“Buy local” campaigns in Floyd County and many other areas of the country can — and often do — keep people out of malls and “big box” stores with an emphasis on locally owned outlets and products produced nearby.

Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says consumers has gotten smarter. They shop for deals online.

He adds:

Is Black Friday far less important than it used to be? Well, of course it is.

While unemployment is lower than in past years, people are also shopping less because they have less in the bank.  Studies show homes making less than $50,000 a year keep the cash close.  The average annual income for Floyd Countians is under that figure and many attempt to live on less than $35,000 each year.

Still, stores opened their doors early on this Black Friday to throngs who wanted to get in and get out with the lowest prices available but more stayed home and clicked on their computer mouses to get the deals without the hassle.

Our schedule for this Black Friday is a leisurely breakfast at Blue Ridge before heading down to Chic’s to pick up a chest Amy found earlier in the week.  Then she heads for bingo in the evening and I pick up my cameras and head for the Friday Night Jamboree or another local musical offering.

Let’s be careful out there.

The gate rises and the Black Friday shoppers rush in.