Clowns and store sales will come together Friday for McPherson’s 13th annual Shop the Night Away, with this year’s theme of Circus Time.
Downtown businesses will stay open until 10 p.m. with sidewalk sales and giveaways. At 19 of those, shoppers can register for prizes and pick up an activity map with times and locations of activities.
A variety of free family-friendly activities will be available, made possible by the donations of local businesses. They include:

 “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted” will show from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the McPherson Opera House  Hedrick Exotic Animals at 101 S. Main St.  An interactive presentation by The Bug Lady, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 214 E. Euclid  An elephant-shaped moonwalk from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 214 E. Euclid  A 40-foot obstacle course from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 319 S. Main St.  Face painting from 6 to 8 p.m. at 209 S. Main  Photo opportunities with circus props from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 104 N. Main St.  Carnival games at eight locations  Clowns and a juggler from 6 to 8 p.m. at 301 N. Main St.  Adopt the Night Away from 6 to 10 p.m. at 201 S. ElmPrizes range from $25 gift certificates to a $500 shopping spree, and will be drawn at 9 p.m. Friday on Main Street Plaza. Individuals must be present to win.
Also during that time, the Convention and Visitors Bureau will announce the winner of their “What’s Your McPherson?” photography contest and the local Masonic Lodge will draw a winner for a 55-inch television.
Food will include cotton candy, walking tacos and ice cream at Main Street Plaza.
Last year, attendees came from more than 40 Kansas communities. It is one of the biggest one-day events for businesses in downtown McPherson who are either bringing in new product or getting rid of it for the next season.
“It’s a big shopping day for the businesses,” said Ann Engel, executive director for McPherson Main Street. “Every year, it doesn’t matter how hot it is, they still come.”
Engel said she has fielded countless numbers of phone calls and sent more than 700 emails to individuals on mailing lists specifically for this event.
The Shop the Night Away draw has increased in recent years as McPherson Main Street’s promotion and idea exchange committee has tied themes to the event and asked businesses to sponsor free activities for families.
“That way the whole family can come,” Engel said. “You can eat, shop and do activities. It’s a whole evening thing.
“I look forward to it every year. I enjoy the businesses, and I enjoy the people. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very fulfilling to walk outside and see people having fun all over. That’s why I do this job. I want the businesses to succeed, and people to be aware of what McPherson has.”
For more event details, visit the McPherson Main Street Facebook page, email or call 620-241-7430.

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