OTTUMWA — The turkey is done. Black Friday’s frenzy is over. Now what? Local merchants hope you’ll spend time with them.

Small Business Saturday has developed in recent years as a response to the mass shopping of Black Friday. Smaller businesses don’t see quite the same bump as major retailers, but they hope people will spend a day specifically trying to spend money locally.

The local events actually get started the prior evening, with the Lights of Love lighting in Central Park. The event has become a success by allowing local residents to purchase trees that are tagged in memory of loved ones. The lighting, a somber but joyful event, begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Ottumwa’s annual snowball drop takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Market and Main streets. Hundreds of ping-pong ball “snowballs” will be dropped to the crowd below. The balls are marked with local business deals and offer incentives for people to come shop in their stores.

People can only redeem one ball per person per business, so trading is also a factor when people scoop up duplicates.

The young and young-at-heart can have breakfast with Santa at Bridge View Center from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Tickets are $9 in advance, $10 that morning, and $5 for children 12 and younger. The event also includes cookie decorating.

People can cap off Saturday with a chance to burn off some holiday calories during the Ottumwa Area Chamber’s Jingle Jog/Walk. The start is at 4:30 p.m. from the Herberger’s parking lot. The event is also designed to support Sparky Claus, and people can bring an unwrapped present to the event to help make children’s Christmases a bit brighter.

Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

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Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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