East Bay families opt out of Black Friday, go green instead

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Forget Black Friday, hundreds of families wanted none of it, and instead opted for "Green Friday" by visiting an East Bay Regional Park.

"We all decided to come out to Tilden Park instead of the madness of the malls," said Jeremiah Nielson, as he and his extended family waited for the merry-go-round to open at the Oakland park.

"I want to be outside today," explained Casey Robertson, with her toddler by her side. "It's a beautiful day and I wanted to avoid the crowds, even though there's kind of a crowd here."

As a gift to visitors, the East Bay Regional Parks District waived all parking fees on the day after Thanksgiving, along with those for fishing, boat launching and pets. The parking fee at Roberts Regional Recreation Area on Skyline Boulevard is normally $5.

"This is such a great park, we thought it would be packed," said Tina Longfield, walking her dog Lucy, "but we ended up getting great parking, and for free on top of it."

For those who planned to visit the park independent of Green Friday, the free parking was a bonus.

"That was pretty cool," said Lauren Brown, after she and her companion drove past the kiosk, where the parking fee machine was closed up tight. "I had the twenty out, ready to go."

Even without the lure of free parking, some visitors told us they wouldn't be anywhere near a mall on Black Friday.

"We have screaming kids," explained Claudia Cottoglio, as she prepared a picnic spread for her family at Tilden. "It's impossible to go to the mall."
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