RIDGWAY--Opening at noon on Friday, the St. Leo Parish School's Walmart Truckload sale brought hundreds to downtown Ridgway in one of the biggest events in the area since the COVID-19 restrictions have been eased in the region.

With Elk County's high vaccination rate, now estimated to be over 50%, and a low overall average of cases compared to more urban regions of the state, many expressed confidence in attending this event, which is partially outdoors and otherwise contained in the enormous old factory on Gillis Avenue that was donated by the owner, Clarion River Holdings, free of charge for the event.

Volunteers from the St. Leo's Parish, and many others, have spent over a month transforming the location into basically a Walmart store, with everything included besides the meat, produce, and pharmacy sections. Name brand products for sale in Walmarts every day line the "aisles" of the "store" at discounted prices, with further reductions to come in the weekend-long event. The marked-down prices on Friday will be decreased by 30% on Saturday and even more on Sunday if anything is left.

The event's hours on Friday are from noon until 8 p.m. On Saturday, the event opens at 8 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. with a Ridgway Knights of Columbus Chicken BBQ beginning at 11 a.m. until sold out. On Sunday, the event winds down, beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. or until everything is gone.

Almost anything people are looking for is available at the Truckload sale, including Bicycles, which have been almost impossible to find throughout the pandemic. Air-Conditioners and fans, along with BBQ Grills and Campling equipment, are also in stock to get everyone ready for summer fun. Toy Trucks, games, and electronic items are also available in a set-up that is more reminiscent of a retail store on "Black Friday" than the former factory that has been transformed into one of the largest event venues in Elk County. For the more practical shopper, household cleaners, vacuums, health and beauty items, and books are also on sale all this weekend.

The huge parking lot was full with the line to get in wrapped around the area's perimeter. But, inside, volunteers in yellow safety vests were visible throughout the space to help carry purchases, answer questions, provide help locating a section or item, and help with carrying items to vehicles after check-out. And, for all those who have been in local stores recently, there are more cashiers available for this cash-only event than you will find at checkouts elsewhere, with no annoying self-scan registers and irritating beeps to finish off your trip.

Proceeds from this Truckload sale will benefit the St. Leo Magnus Parish School on Main Street in Ridgway.

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