"The purpose is to kick of the holiday shopping season and get people to think about shopping locally."

Once again, early November snowballs will bring savings and deals to McPherson.

The fourth annual Snowball Drop will take place at 5 p.m. Nov. 3 at McPherson's Main Street Plaza. This event, sponsored by McPherson Main Street and the McPherson Chamber of Commerce, marks the first push for holiday shopping.

"Santa will come in on the trolley, get in the lift and throw out the snowballs," said Ann Engel, executive director of McPherson Main Street. "The purpose is to kick of the holiday shopping season and get people to think about shopping locally."

The evening will begin with a kids' drop, in which children can collect candy and trinkets tossed from above. Then, Santa will unleash a barrage of ping-pong balls, which can be redeemed for prizes like gift certificates, coupons, gift cards and merchandise, all promoting McPherson businesses.

"People might not be shopping yet, but this can help them start thinking about what to get," Engel said.

The Snowball Drop also boosts other downtown shopping promotions, such as the Holiday Open House Weekend Nov. 4, 5 and 6, where McPherson businesses will put up decorations and offer food and music while people get a look at their holiday season offerings.

The Candy Cane Cash promotion will begin Nov. 1. By spending money at participating McPherson businesses, shoppers can enter a raffle to win prizes once the holidays are over.

Engel said while freebies are a good attraction to the Snowball Drop, the events also help people get in the holiday spirit.

"Christmas can sneak up on you, but if you start thinking about gifts in November, you can be better prepared instead of waiting until the last moment," she said. "I love the holidays, and this is just a reminder to people to get started."