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State parks to hold Black Friday sale – free entry for everyone!

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If you're looking for an antidote to Black Friday later this month, Minnesota's state parks will be open and free of charge to visitors.

The announcement was made by Lt. Governor Tina Smith and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr Friday morning, saying in a press release they hope it will encourage families to spend Black Friday outdoors, rather than fighting it out over store sales.

Entrance fees to all 76 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Nov. 27 for what is being called "Free Park Friday" the day after Thanksgiving.

"At a time of year when Minnesotans pause to give thanks, I am so grateful for the incredible state parks and trails we have here in Minnesota," Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. "Visiting these parks is a great way to spend time with family and loved ones, relieve stress and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors."

Landwehr was told by Governor Mark Dayton to use his "statutory authority" to issue a written order waiving the state park fees for the day, which you can see here.

The announcement comes as retailers gear up for one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Minnesota-based Target and Best Buy among those to have revealed their plans so far. 

But the DNR is encouraging people to head out for a walk instead, referencing studies that show the average American consuming around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving itself.

"We are very fortunate to have such outstanding state parks and trails in Minnesota," Landwehr said. "So get out there, walk off your turkey dinner and have some fun on Friday."

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