DANBURY, Conn. -- For shoppers who can't wait to hit the stores for holiday bargains, two big retail options in Fairfield County will be opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening.
The holiday shopping season officially kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Danbury Fair Mall and at the Stamford Town Center, satisfying the shopping needs of people at both ends of Fairfield County.
"A slew of stores are opening at 6 p.m., Thursday, along with the department stores," said Melissa Eigen, senior manager of marketing for Danbury Fair. "The majority of the stores in the mall will be open as of 8 p.m., including the food court."
The Stamford Town Center will also be open as of 6 p.m. A few of the stores offering special deals at both malls on Thursday evening include Macy's and JC Penney as well as Sears at Danbury Fair. A number of other smaller retailers are opening on the holiday as well.
And once the doors at the Danbury mall are open, they will stay open all night and into Black Friday.
"Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year in Danbury," Eigen said. "But Black Friday is a little different -- people are shopping for themselves as well as for gifts. The discounts are heavy. It's one of the best shopping days of the year."
Hitting the mall is a "tradition" for many, she said, especially in the hometowns of the popular malls.
"Consumers come armed with information, they are ready to shop," Eigen said. "We see them with their prepared lists. They have a plan."
Shoppers at the Danbury Fair Mall will be greeted by a newly repaved parking lot, which is certain to be jammed all weekend.
For those who want to visit Santa Claus, they will have to wait until Friday to hit the Santa HQ.
"Santa gets Thanksgiving off," Eigen said. "There have been lots of good children this year. He needs to be prepared and rested for Friday."
The new Santa HQ, sponsored by HGTV, offers a totally immersive digital experience.
"The whole experience is interactive," Eigen said. "You can take an 'Elfie-Selfie,' take a journey to meet Santa. It's a great experience for families to enjoy together."
The Danbury Mall also now offers a mobile app.
"It's a great amenity, it helps people shop and search the mall like never before," she said. It offers instant results on searches as well as a virtual concierge and maps. "It even has store-to-store directions."
The app is available for iPhones and Androids at the Apple APP Store.
For more information on the Danbury Mall and its special deals for Black Friday, visit its website.
For more information on the Stamford Town Center and its special deals for Black Friday, visit its website.
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