Black Friday crowds are good for local economies, and officials encourage them, within reason.
Black Friday is now in full swing for many in the region, and in spite of some critics, local officials say they welcome the spending spree.
In downtown Silver Spring, Maryland some stores opened at midnight. While critics say shopping is overshadowing Thanksgiving, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett says people can do both.
"I'm on the other side. Very delighted that we have a large amount of sales occurring throughout the area, because it shows some consumer confidence," says Leggett. "But we need to keep in mind the real value of what we have in Thanksgiving. And to reflect on that, so I think we need to keep those things in proper balance."
Leggett and county council member Craig Rice spent part of Thanksgiving serving free meals at Silver Spring's Fillmore. Rice says usually the District's homeless population gets all the attention.
"It's really unfortunate that people don't understand how prevalent the homeless situation is in Montgomery County," says Rice. "You often times don't see it on the streets as much, but we have a lot of people that are out there hurting."
Local volunteers are also planning food, clothing and toy drives in the coming weeks.