SOMERVILLE, NJ – The night belonged to the ladies, because after all, it was Girls’ Night Out in Somerville.

Main Street was packed, the boutiques, salons and specialty stores were packed, the restaurants were packed.

Thursdays are normally busy in downtown Somerville, but this Thursday was even more so.

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They came in droves, signed up at the registration pavilion on Division Street pedestrian mall, posed for photos courtesy of Image Studio, picked up their “swag bags,” consulted their maps and headed out to browse, to shop, to have a drink and dine.

Registration started around 5 p.m. and inside of 30 minutes, Main Street was a kaleidoscope of activity.

The Downtown Somerville Alliance sponsored the event; the promotion far exceeded their expectations.

Tickets for the event sold out more than a week in advance.

Randi Pitts, owner of Evolve, a Main Street clothing store and one of the organizers, said the DSA could have easily sold 1,000 tickets.

Ladies in groups of four, six and eight filled the tables at restaurants up and down Main Street, some choosing to eat al fresco and take advantage of the mild weather. Some were dressed for a night out, others preferred to go casual.

Inside K Bella Boutique, it was elbow-to-elbow, with a long line of customers drinking wine and clutching their purchases, waiting in line to pay. Co-owner Kate Reinhardt said it was the best evening she and partner Kristin Antonelli have had at the store since opening last July.

Kevin Cahill, co-owner of Discover Wine, sold several cases to stores participating in Girls’ Night Out that had run short.

Revive Consignment Shop provided a champagne limousine ride to its location on South Doughty Street, a distance from the action on Main Street. Next-door neighbor Casa Luna Mexican Grill co-sponsored the service.

Each of the “swag bags” contained the map, a “Girls’ Night Out” t-shirt, other gift items and discount certificates to more than two dozen stores. Balloons outside the stores acted like beacons drawing the ladies inside.

Some of the stores had their own DJs inside or on the sidewalk in front of their stores; others served wine.

Before heading home, the ladies had the opportunity to “cash in” their receipts.

Everyone who bought a $20 ticket had the opportunity to participate in the “Shop to Win” promotion which encouraged the ladies to shop or dine at the participating merchants and restaurants. To register for the gift drawing to be held Friday, participants had to bring their certificate to the DSA pavilion, and fill out an entry form.  Many had multiple entries because they had done some serious shopping.

Prizes include gift baskets, voice lessons, jewelry, a free month of yoga, a chef’s dinner for four valued at $500, a summer essentials basket valued at $250, an interior design consultation valued at $400, restaurant gift certificates for $50 and $100, a special occasion dress valued at $650 and a private shopping party.