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November 21. 2012 10:23PM

Merrimack outlets gear up for first midnight madness event

MERRIMACK - The first-ever midnight madness event at Merrimack Premium Outlets is expected to draw shoppers from all over New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.

"This is our Super Bowl of shopping," said Elaine Devine, general manager at Merrimack Premium Outlets. "We are ready. Black Friday will start early, with many of the stores at the outlets opening their doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. All of the stores will be open by midnight.

"This is a lot more than a Black Friday event. For many shoppers looking for the thrill of the hunt, they can start almost immediately after finishing their Thanksgiving meal."

While it is too premature to estimate just how many early bird shoppers will flock to the outlets Thursday night, Devine said the outlet stores have prepared for a large crowd.

"We are really excited because this is our first holiday season being open, so everything will be new to us and new to our shoppers," she said. "We expect to be very busy."

Extra security will be on hand, and police officers will be readily available to assist with any potential traffic concerns, Devine said.

Additional parking will be available on a grassy field near the bottom entrance of the site, which has been converted into temporary parking with portable floodlights. Off-site parking will also be available at 40 Continental Boulevard if all of the parking at the outlets is maximized. Shuttle buses will be available for the overflow parking patrons, she said.

The staff at Merrimack Premium Outlets has worked several months preparing for the holiday shopping season, according to Devine. "We are going to be creating a fun and festive atmosphere, with a live, musical performance until 1 a.m. (Friday)," she said. Merrimack Premium Outlets will be having extended shopping hours throughout the weekend.

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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at khoughton@newstote.com.



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