The holiday decorations are up, there’s a chill in the air, and downtown Evanston merchants are poised to welcome shoppers on Black Friday.

Historically one of the busiest retail days of the year, the day after Thanksgiving is known for kicking off holiday shopping season with deep discounts.

The holiday decorations are up, there’s a chill in the air, and downtown Evanston merchants are poised to welcome shoppers on Black Friday.

Historically one of the busiest retail days of the year, the day after Thanksgiving is known for kicking off holiday shopping season with deep discounts.

Most downtown Evanston stores will be featuring savings – many storewide – and some are offering extended hours.

The following stores have confirmed specials on Friday, with some continuing through Sunday or beyond: American Apparel, Ashley Lauren Natural Products, Asinamali, Ayla’s Originals Bead Bazaar, Benefit Cosmetics, Blick Art Materials, Campus Gear, Coucou, Design Within Reach, Hot Mama, J. Antou Salon, Lemoi Ace Hardware, Stepping Out on Faith, Thriftgeek, Urban Outfitters, U.S. Cellular, Vintage Vinyl and WineStyles.

Adding holiday merriment to the downtown Evanston shopping experience, eight child members of the Next Theatre’s cast of “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant!” will meander through the downtown Friday from 1 to 2:30 p.m., caroling with musical numbers from this irreverent holiday hit.

Shoppers can also stop by the corner of Church Street and Maple Avenue on Friday between 3 and 5 p.m., where free roasted chestnuts will be passed out, courtesy of Church Street Plaza. This festive offering will continue every Friday and Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. through Dec. 19.

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