Numerous downtown stores will be open for extended hours Thursday during the annual Moonlight Madness, a Christmas sales promotion which stems back to the early 1970s.

Philadelphia Main Street Director Tim Moore said several stores will be open with “terrific holiday sales and savings” from 6 to 9 p.m.

The holiday shopping season kicked off officially in November with a Sunday afternoon open house which drew a crowd to the downtown, he said.

“Merchants reported good sales during holiday open house,  which kicked off our shopping season. We continue to encourage people to shop local,” Moore said.

Among the stores participating in Moonlight Madness are Oasis, Dixie Gipsy Boutique, Kademi, Steve’s on the Square, Fay’s, Southern Mess, Square Peg Mini Mall, Jewelry Just for Fun, Uptown Flowers and Gift Market and MG and Company, Goodness and Grace Beauty Bar, CrisMont Creations, Neshoba County Co-Op,  Bobby’s Jewelry, Stribling Drugs, Clothesline and Yates Building Supply.

Moonlight Madness was started in the early 1970s by what was then the Downtown Merchants Association.

It remains one of the most popular sales promotions in Philadelphia because of the extended hours, Moore said.