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      Snow falls, local Conway businesses gain

      More than 1,000 "snowballs" hit the streets of Conway on Saturday for Downtown Conway Alive's 5th Annual Snowball Drop and Holiday Open House.

      "We are missing the snow. A lot of us are from the North, so we enjoy the snowballs," said Debbie Alutis, originally from Pennsylvania, who one of an estimated 500 people who attended this year's event.

      However, these snowballs weren't made of real snow. They were white ping pong balls.

      This year 1500 of these "snowballs" were launched into a large crowd of people of all ages.

      The objective, for many, was to gather as many as they could, using only their hands.

      "It's called luck. If you're at the right place at the right time, one will fall into your hands," said Richard Lajoie about his strategy for catching them.

      Each "snowball" was labeled with names of stores and prize numbers that could be cashed in to local shops to collect various coupons and prizes.

      Part of the underlying mission for Saturday's Snowball Drop was to drive more people to visit local businesses in downtown Conway, according to Hilary Howard, Executive Director of Conway Downtown Alive.

      "When they catch one of those snowballs, in order to figure out what their discount or prizes are, they have to physically walk into that store. So more than likely, it's probably some place they've never been before. And our research shows, once they walk inside, they're probably going to come back again for something in the future," Howard said.

      Tracy Pickens, co-owner of The Haberdashery on Laurel Street, said this event does attract repeat customers each year.

      Pickens said although people might not buy the store's merchandise right away, they will tend to visit the stores again, closer to the holidays.

      Ultimately, Pickens would like to the Annual Snowball Drop and Holiday Open House grow in years to come. Particularly, he'd like to see more local businesses participate and would like to see more people attend.

      This year, 40 businesses were represented at the event.

      To find out more about this weekend's event, which continues through Sunday, click here.