There are numerous retail stores in the Pikesville area, but on Black Friday there didn't seem to be the rushing, shoving or massive crowds of the large shopping centers located elsewhere.
At the Festival at Woodholme, 1809 Reisterstown Road, there were about as many shoppers as usual in Chico's and Black Market in the afternoon, but more shoppers than usual — about 10 at one time — in the AT&T store.
Many people at Woodholme said they weren't doing Black Friday shopping. Rather, they were out for coffee at Starbucks, a bite to eat, or grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. A golden retriever and its owner were seen slipping into Bark!, a pet food and supplies store, where some customers shopped.
But further south on Reisterstown Road, at Reisterstown Road Plaza, if the shopping center had a soul, it would have been a "jolly, happy" one.
"Hi Frosty!" said Justin Albright, 5, to the Frosty The Snowman character wandering the center court. "I saw you on TV!" Justin, of Woodlawn, was at the mall with his mother, Rita Segars. He was happy to get his picture taken with one of his favorite cartoon stars.
The Plaza administration was ready for today, known nationwide as Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. While there weren't the crowds like in other, more heavily-trafficked areas, a steady stream of shoppers at the mall was greeted by a festive holiday atmosphere throughout the day.
A disc jockey from Magic 91.5 FM played music to entertain visitors, and at 1 p.m. Santa Claus made his first appearance of the season.
Seated in a plush, green chair beside a decadently-dressed Christmas tree, Santa greeted children one-by-one. Other characters, including a reindeer, Frosty, and a Christmas elf, visited with children and led them in activities, including a bean bag toss.
The Christmas celebration was produced by Baltimore business Paradise Events, said Santa's helper Charlotte Bryant.
Further down the hallway toward the Subway sandwich shop is a Hanukkah display ready for the Jewish holiday that begins the evening of Dec. 1.
"It's a family, community-oriented shopping center," said The Plaza's General Manager Sherrie Little. And it caters to several markets of customers. First, there is a large number of Jewish and Russian customers who shop there. And there are African Americans. "It's a really neat mix, so we try to do events that are going to nurture both demographics," she said.
Santa Claus will visit again from 1-4 p.m. on three Saturdays: Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18. Children can get their pictures taken with Santa for free. And from 1:30-3:30 p.m., kids can make a craft to take with them.
And there will be a Hanukkah celebration from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 5, across from the Foot Locker store. It will feature the Baltimore area's Jewish Klezmer Band, dreidel games, prizes and other activities.
There's even a turkey lottery. Shoppers can fill out an entry form at the security desk to win one of 25 turkeys. The drawing is Dec. 15.
The Plaza has 95 stores, anchored by Burlington Coat Factory, Giant, Marshall's and Home Depot.
Little says the Plaza's address is in Baltimore City, but it is less than a mile from the Pikesville community border at Fallstaff Road. Its primary and secondary markets of customers lives within 1-5 miles of the Plaza, she said.
Reisterstown Road Plaza is located at 6776 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore. For information, call 410-764-3222, or visit www.shopreisterstownroadplaza.com