At this time last year, tents were already lined up outside the Sports Authority store at 10th and Broadway in anticipation of Sniagrab, the annual sale getting underway the Saturday prior to Labor Day. But that was before Occupy Denver popped up four blocks north on Broadway, and before the city passed an ordinance banning urban camping.
To comply with that new ordinance, Sports Authority and the Denver Department of Public Works worked together to create the paper trail to allow the trail of tents that will soon march up 10th to Lincoln, then round the corner and head north. In this week's Off Limits, I reported on Public Works' efforts; yesterday, Sports Authority provided the following statement:
Sports Authority worked with the City for a special permit to allow Sniagrab enthusiasts to begin lining up early this year including camping overnight. In previous years we've had the first customers in line up to a week ahead of start of the sale on Saturday with over 400 customers in line by 7 a.m. on Saturday.
We anticipate similar excitement this year as we've increased our inventory by 35 percent and it's on sale for up to 80 percent off original prices on previous years' ski & snowboard equipment and more.
As of this writing, there are no would-be customers camping outside the Sports Castle. But we're betting that we'll see the first tents sometime today, and when we spot one, we'll post an update.
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Urban camping is no picnic, as Jef Otte discovered when he spent a night on the 16th Street Mall. Read our "Unhappy Campers" cover story.