Bob Evenson, seen here at Kincaid Lake, plans go on a Black Friday Paddle on the Vermilion River. The event is hosted by Pack & Paddle in Lafayette. (Photo: Melinda Martinez)

It’s Black Friday! It’s the day viewed by many as the traditional start to the Christmas season.

“My mom always went when I was little and couldn’t wait until I was older so I could go with her,” said Cali Gross. “Now we go each year together. It’s like opening day of Christmas for us. We hardly buy anything (we don’t like to wait in lines) but we’ll get things here and there. Then we go home and wrap all the gifts and put up our trees.”

Tami Brasket Bordelon said she is sad that there will be no Black Friday shopping on Thursday evening among other things this year. 

“And many stores have moved to a online Black Friday shopping,” she said. “My kids love to shop with me and we’ve made it a family tradition. The shopping was exciting and the savings helped us get a good start on our Christmas shopping.”

While there are those who go for the sales, others like George and Suelynne Mickey like to people watch.

George went Black Friday shopping for the first time a few years back after he retired, said Suelynne.

“He had so much fun watching the people run through the doors when they opened,” she said. “But he loved watching people fight over toys and electronics. And when he saw this group of women with walkie talkies, he burst out laughing.”

And ever since then, they have gone to the stores on Black Friday.

“Not for gifts,” said Suelynne. “But for the excitement.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is messing up their yearly adventure as she calls it so they won’t be going this year.

“He’s fun,” continued Mickey about her husband. “If you could have seen him in line for sheets at Walmart. We were not buying any. He was listening to the smack talk! He’s fun.”

While some head out to the stores on Black Friday, others prefer to shop online.

“I do it every year… in my boxers,” said Jeremy Shepherd. “From the comfort of my computer chair.”

“Internet is the best,” said Cindy Noland.

Gina Franks said she hasn’t been Black Friday shopping since 2006 and prefers to shop online.

“And, just truthfully, no one that I know really needs anything anyway,” she said. “We get what we want all year.”

Rose Moffett is also online shopping. But it’s not that she doesn’t want to go to stores.

“I can’t ever find someone who wants to fight the crowds with me,” she said.

“Nope, nope, and definitely not,” said Jessica Difulco. She would rather stay home in her PJs and wake up late.

“There is nothing I want bad enough to bring me out into the retail madness,” she said. But she welcomes online shopping.

“Hello, Cyber Monday,” she said. 

Morgan Lasayone said she would need a lot of wine to go shopping on Black Friday.

“It’s a gruesome, demeaning activity,” said Bridien Rollins. “I’ll keep my dignity, thank you.”

Instead of shopping, Ashley DeKeyzer and her friends are using Black Friday as a way to de-stress.

For the last several years, they have gone to the gun range on Black Friday.

“We relax and fire off a few rounds, or a few dozen,” said DeKeyzer. And the range is usually empty.

Some people are using Black Friday as an opportunity to do outdoor activities.

“I spend the day outdoors,” said artist Elizabeth P. Morgan. “No shopping. Maybe I’ll be painting.”

Franny Young, Bob Evenson and Tommy Webster, all avid hikers and kayakers, will be joining others on a Black Friday Paddle on the Vermilion River in Lafayette. The event is hosted by outfitter Pack & Paddle shop owners John and Becky Williams as a way for families to get together and make memories. 

“I am not a shopper,” said Evenson. “I go to a retail outlet to buy a specific thing and leave. So Black Friday Shopping is not a thing for me. I do not like large crowds in stores so I try to get my things on slow days.”

The Black Friday Paddle is free for those who have their own kayaks. Prices are $30 for a solo kayak; $40 for a two-person kayak or a canoe. For more information, visit their website

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