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Photos: Annapolitans Shop Midnight Madness

Annapolis businesses offered music, drinks and discounts to shoppers who came to enjoy the annual holiday block party.

Hundreds of people flooded the streets of downtown Annapolis on Thursday to drink, shop and pet baby alpacas during Midnight Madness.

The annual downtown event is hosted by the Annapolis Business Association to encourage people to shop local.

"We come every year," Christina Lynch said. "We live in town and we try to support the local businesses."

Lynch and her three children spent several minutes petting four alpacas who grazed the night away outside Alpaca International on Main Street.

"They're so sweet," Lynch said. "This is the highlight."

A few streets over on Maryland Avenue, Ben Wiser from Flying Dog, a Maryland-based brewery, offered samples and beer suggestions to customers at Annebeth's.

At Star Monograms the night started off slow, but around 9 p.m. a steady crowd weaved its way through the shop.

"I feel like people go and eat dinner on Main Street and then head over here later," owner Katie Warwick Schreiner said.

Musicians wandered the streets and plunked down their instruments at different spots throughout the city. Sons of the Severn and the Chesapeake Academy chorus walked up and down the streets pausing to sing Christmas songs when the mood struck.

The Old Mill High School Steel Drum Band played by the Christmas tree on City Dock.

Even Annapolis Alderman Fred Paone (R-2nd Ward) was spotted in his Christmas tree tie walking down Market Space.

"It's going great. It's wonderful to see so many people come shopping in Annapolis," Paone said.

He hadn't made any purchases when Patch ran into him, but he said, "My wife is more than making up for that."

One of the busiest spots on Main Street was Eyes on Main, an eyeglass shop with a range of food and drinks that included shrimp, cupcakes and BLTs.

"No one really comes out for eye glasses for holiday presents, so we had to find some way to draw people in," owner Rick Lepski said. "What better way to draw people in than to feed them."

His plan seemed to be working. People purchased cases, sunglasses and even gift cards for eyeglasses or eye exams as they wandered his store snacking.

If you didn't make it to Thursday's Midnight Madness, it's happening again Dec. 13.

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