Outdoor Markets a Holiday Tradition

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SCRANTON -- Since the temperature was above the freezing point Friday, many people in Lackawanna County were doing their holiday food shopping outside.

Friday was a busy day for outdoor seafood markets that are a Christmas tradition for many families.

Folks from Schiff's Wholesale Food Outlet in Scranton said they have gotten busier and busier as the weather's warmed up because the majority of their sales at this time in December are done outside.

Elyse Wiltz of Jessup said it doesn't feel like Christmas unless she's buying her Christmas meal outside.

Outdoor seafood markets like the one at Schiff's are popular leading up to the Christmas holiday.

"Actually this is the first time I bought from this seafood market. Usually I go to Quinn's or anywhere that has it fresh, that I can pick through," Wiltz said.

The outdoor seafood market runs from a week before Christmas to New Year's Eve, and employees at Schiff's said in that time they sell a few hundred thousand pounds of fish and seafood.

"It's just a tradition, my folks were coming here long before, and I just keep doing the same thing," added Rick Laneski of West Wyoming.

For people like Laneski, the shopping experience is as traditional as the holiday meal.

Schiff's sells much more than seven varieties of fish, enough for folks to come up with their own combination for their traditional "feast of the seven fishes," a meal many families in Northeastern Pennsylvania have on Christmas Eve.

"At least at Christmas you know the fish is fresh, especially in these outdoor stores," said Susan Davidson of Dalton.