CHICAGO (CBS) — Holiday crowds flooded downtown Chicago all day and into the night this Black Friday – in a way we haven’t seen in two years.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, there was a constant stream of people along thoroughfares such as Michigan Avenue and State Street. The consensus among them seemed to be that after spending a lot of quality time with family, they felt safe enough to venture out and enjoy all the Black Friday deals.

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On State Street, the shoppers enjoyed the accompaniment of a musician playing some good old Chicago blues. But there were no blues – in the emotional sense, that is – found in the thousands who ventured out on this Black Friday.

“Everybody’s just joyful to be back out,” said Janese Robinson. “You know, we had a rough year last year with COVID and everything. It kind of gives people a new state of mind.”

State Street was packed, as so many people felt confident shopping – or simply being out – compared to 2020.

“It’s night and day,” said another shopper, Ms. Margulis. “It’s night and day.”

The Margulis family wasn’t too worried about the cold temperatures as they hit the streets – keeping warm on coffee. Dad Aaron admitted that even the attitude of the people warmed his heart this year.

“Everyone is so friendly. No one’s yelling this year. It’s very pleasant and wonderful,” he said. “People are holding doors for everyone. It’s a friendly experience this year.”

Keeping your distance from people for so long now brings a better appreciation of a crowd of strangers.

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“A lot more comfortable being closer to each other yeah,” said Larry Abdullah. “Everyone’s getting a little closer now, and not feeling so intimidated by everything.”

Abdullah found a few deals as he, like so many, was happy to be home visiting Chicago for the first time since the pandemic.

“Being indoors last year, I didn’t even make it out to see my family last year because if it,” he said.

That is why he was pumped to blend in with so many strangers – and the feeling was mutual.

“There year is wonderful – splendid. Tons of people and the busyness of the city,” Margulis said. “I miss that.”

“I’m not really shocked that a lot of people showed out, because this is what we do,” added Robinson “It’s Chicago. We come outside, baby!”

Terry noticed that Robinson did not have gloves on. But she didn’t mind.

“You’re used to it after certain amount of time,” she said.

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That said, there was no denying it was a little chilly Friday night. But for the most part, it was a pleasure for all to see everyone out and about – and it was good news for local businesses too.