Shoppers are lining up outside the area's retail stores, looking for "Black Friday" bargains.  The Friday after Thanksgiving is believed to be the busiest shopping day of the year.  Many stores opened at 6pm on Thanksgiving while others waited till 12:01 to allow shoppers in.

The City of New Bedford is hoping free parking will attract more shoppers to the city's business districts.  Beginning on Thanksgiving, shoppers will be allowed two hours free parking at metered spaces in Downtown New Bedford, the Acushnet Avenue business district, and at the Elm Street and Zieterion Parking Garages.

Mayor Jon Mitchell says the free parking program is a way to encourage residents to shop local, and support the city's small businesses.  If you do get a ticket while shopping in the Downtown or North End bring it to the New Bedford Traffic Commission Office at 51 Elm Street, along with sales receipts totaling $10 or more, and the ticket will be forgiven.