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Surge of demand for Friends School Plant Sale puts website under pressure

The Mother's Day weekend sale is returning after being canceled in 2020.

The Friends School Plant Sale is returning this year and is likely to be more popular than ever after a pandemic year that saw Minnesotans turn their attentions to their gardens.

Time slots for the Mother's Day weekend sale at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds went on sale Thursday morning, and the organization's website initially struggled to cope with the demand.

"Our signup admin thought he had beefed up everything to handle the server pressure but he underestimated our initial traffic — that’s the simple answer," the organization posted on its Facebook page Thursday evening.

"Fortunately, at this point, it appears that everyone who was attempting to sign up has now secured a time and there are many still available."

The Friends School was forced to cancel the 2020 event due to COVID-19, but is pushing ahead with this May's sale with some pandemic-related changes in effect.

The event will be held entirely outdoors, and with the number of shoppers allowed in at the same time limited, it's added an extra day so it will run from Thursday, May 6, to Sunday, May 9, with the final day its usual one-third-off discount day.

Those attending will be required to wear a mask, continue to social distance, and observe other health guidelines.

The Friends School has had to stagger entrances to this year's sale in half-hour slots, to ensure it can limit shopper numbers.

"The reason we had to change our entrance model this year is because we're considered a large event by the State of Minnesota as opposed to a retail operation. None of this is ideal, and we will be very glad to be back to a regular sale in 2022," it said.

You can find out how to secure your time slots for this year's Friends School Plant Sale here.

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