Steamboat Springs Brett Lee went to bed Thursday night hoping for blue skies and warm weather for the sidewalk sale in downtown Steamboat Springs that kicked off Friday.
After all, the success of a sidewalk sale relies on an abundance of clear blue skies for a blazing sun, said Lee, co-owner of StraightLine Outdoor Sports, 744 Lincoln Ave.
"The weather is critical," he said.
To the delight of Lee and the rest of the downtown business community, signs of spring showed up Friday giving merchants hope for a strong weekend at the cash register.
"I heard the weather might not be very good today," Lee said as he worked the cash register Friday afternoon. "But I was pleased to wake up to sunshine."
Tourists and locals filled 10 blocks of downtown Friday seeking bargains for marked-down winter merchandise by more than 50 businesses in 60-degree weather.
The sidewalk sale, which is organized by the Downtown Business Association, will continue today and end Sunday.
Organizer Del Lockhart said the sale is timed to turn over fall and winter merchandise while the ski season is still in full swing.
The sale also allows locals and tourists to pick up winter clothing, sporting equipment and other winter merchandise at significant price reductions.
Steamboat resident Bill Andrews makes it a point to shop the sidewalk sale every March.
"The bargains have been excellent," said Andrews, who was shopping with his wife, Aurelija, and daughter, Darby. "We do our winter shopping in the springtime."
The family was carrying several bags, which included shoes, clothing and chocolate.
The Andrews were among the many patrons browsing through clothing, which was placed out on the sidewalks early Friday morning.
F.M. Light and Sons at 830 Lincoln Ave. placed so much merchandise outside that the store's landmark horse, Lightning, was nowhere to be found.
"Lightning is in back," said John Schoen, manager of the business. "This is one of the few days we don't put him out front. We have too much stuff outside."
Schoen said the sidewalk sale was off to a good start because of the weather.
"It is beautiful outside," Schoen said. "You couldn't buy a better day. People are out having fun. It is a great day to be out."
Holly Brady, an employee for Design of the Times, was working on her tan as she watched over a table of T-shirts.
"It feels so good to be out here," said Brady, who was wearing a sleeveless yellow shirt. "Business has been pretty good out here."
Michelle Frankenberger, who works for Steamboat Shirt Co. and Steamboat Gear, looked on with envy on the east side of Lincoln Avenue that was filled with rays of sunshine.
"I wish we had some of the sun over here," said Frankenberger as she stood on the west side of Lincoln Avenue. "But the weather has been really nice. It couldn't get any better than this. Business has also been good. It was chaotic this morning."
Among the crowd were Steamboat Springs police. Guy Lumsden provided a law enforcement presence as he strolled down the sidewalk. He also browsed some.
"I saw some boots that I am going to try on later when I get off duty," Lumsden said.
Merchants are hopeful the nice weather will continue today and Sunday. "Nice weather always helps," said Mary Gleason, who works at Mango. "It definitely can make a difference."