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Let them pass

Area shoppers camp out for Black Friday

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Norman Lee, of Paton, helps Hailey Kleinheksel, of Jefferson, with the zipper on her InstaPod Thursday night as the group prepares to spend the night outside the Fort Dodge Menards store. They didn’t freeze to death and were first through the door Friday morning. Wyatt Dowling and Justice Charles, of Vermillion, South Dakota, share the middle pod and Angela Lee, of Paton, the one at right.

Angela Lee, of Paton, spent Thursday night sitting in a camping chair set up inside an InstaPod portable shelter in front of the Fort Dodge Menards store.

She arrived with several other family members — who had their own InstaPod shelters — about 6:30 p.m.

Only 11.5 hours before the store opened.

“I’m nuts,” she said.

Her shopping goal for the upcoming morning’s rush through the door?

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Alexis Crampton, of Fort Dodge and Nick Wallen, of Kamrar, snuggle up to keep warm Thursday afternoon as they wait for the Fort Dodge Target store to open at 5 p.m. The pair arrived at the store about 12:30 and were first in line.

“The weighted blankets and animal chairs for the grandkids,” she said.

Her husband, Norman Lee, opted to spend the night in the nearby car.

“He’s the one that found the pods,” she said. “Ironically, he’s a Scrooge. Happy wife, happy life is his motto.”

In another nearby pod, Hailey Kleinheksel, of Jefferson, was snuggled up with lots of warm stuff.

“I got my pillows, my blankets, my earmuffs with headphones in them,” Kleinheksel said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Menard’s maintenance worker Craig Lowrey helps a customer carry her Black Friday purchases to the checkout Friday morning.

Her first door buster.

“They have a $9.99 30-piece tool set,” she said. “Maybe the blankets. They have a whole bunch of stuff we can use.”

Her friends’ reaction to her plans?

“They said are you seriously going to go sit there that long,” she said.

Wyatt Dowling and Justice Charles, of Vermillion, South Dakota, shared a pod and a piping hot freshly delivered pizza.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Adriana Adamson, 12, of Rolfe, peeks out from under her coat’s hood Thursday afternoon while waiting with family members for the Fort Dodge Target store to open.

“Canadian bacon and pineapple,” Dowling said. “Because pineapple goes on pizza.”

The couple didn’t drive all the way from South Dakota to go shopping, they were visiting family.

Dowling didn’t really have anything specific he would be rushing to put into his cart.

“I’m just along for the ride,” he said. “This is my first time sitting in front of a store.”

He had shared his plans on social media.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Former Webster County Supervisor Bob Singer, of Fort Dodge, looks like he might not have been enjoying his Black Friday morning shopping very much as he waits for the flow of traffic to start moving again in a busy aisle at Menard’s.

“I got a friend from Nebraska saying we’re crazy,” he joked.

While they didn’t bring a portable shelter, Alexis Crampton, of Fort Dodge and Nick Wallen, of Kamrar, managed to be the first in line Thursday for the 5 p.m. opening at the Fort Dodge Target store.

They arrived in the parking lot at 12:30 then got in line a little while later after several other potential shoppers drove through and eyeballed the store.

“I said let’s just get in line,” Crampton said.

Keeping warm was a mixed bag for the two.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Eric Lowry, of Fort Dodge, shares the Target ad with his aunt via phone Thursday afternoon while waiting in line for the store to open at 5 p.m.

“My legs are starting to get cold,” she said.

“I brought my Carhartt,” Wallen said. “I’m pretty warm.”

They both found ways to pass the time.

“We sit on our phones, watch YouTube, talk, converse with the other people in line,” Crampton said. “It’s a fun thing.”

Zachary Hartig, of Badger, arrived at Target about 1:30 p.m.

He was a study in layered clothing.

“I got a sweater, bibs, another coat and gloves that are not keeping my hands warm at all,” Hartig said.

While he was showing a lot of interest in a digital camera in the Target ad, he wasn’t really going for anything specific.

“Nothing in particular,” he said. “If I see something I like I’ll toss it in the cart.”

Adrianna Adamson, 12, of Rolfe, could not only not be seen, she couldn’t see much either. She had pulled the hood of her coat down over her entire face to hide from the chill.

She might have preferred to have stayed home where her hands could operate her digital device.

“I’d be sitting at home playing on my phone,” she said.

Eric Lowry, of Fort Dodge, found his phone exceptionally handy after he joined the line near the corner of the store where it turned to continue to grow.

He used it share the ad with his out of state aunt.

The item he was going for?

It’s a Christmas present for his daughter, it comes in a box and it’s not an animal or vegetable (we don’t want to spoil the surprise).

He wasn’t enjoying the cold.

“My family is home watching football,” Lowry said. “I’m out here in the cold.”

With their pods safely stowed in their car, the Lees, Kleinheksel, Dowling and Charles, were the first ones through the door followed by hundreds of other shoppers who quickly grabbed most of the carts and made a big dent in a long row of extras employees were standing by with in the lighting aisle.

Ray Miller, second assistant general manager at Menards got the honor of pushing the button that opened the store’s doors at precisely 6 a.m.

He played it smart.

He stood back and let them pass.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Shoppers become a blur of motion as they make their way into the Fort Dodge Target store Thursday afternoon a few minutes after the staff opened the doors at 5 p.m.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Lakota Akin, 10, of Fort Dodge, took a seat on the cart Friday morning as he stops to chat with Elizabeth Klinger, of Fort Dodge, as she shops Friday morning at the Fort Dodge Menard’s store.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Faye Van Gilder, of Dayton, studies the store map Friday morning at the Fort Dodge Menard’s store. Van Gilder has been first through the door several times but was beat to the spot this year by a group that spend the night.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Menard’s employee Wayne Salgren prepares himself for the rush of Black Friday shoppers that are about to come through the door shortly before the store opened at 6 a.m. Friday morning. Salgren duties? “I’m a bagger today.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Shoppers line up at the Fort Dodge Target store Thursday afternoon for their 5 p.m. opening.