ENID, Okla. — Thousands turned out Thursday night for the Candy Cane Cash 2018 drawing at Chisholm Trail Expo Center, and several lucky people walked away with combined total of $15,000.

Louretta Stevens won the main prize of $7,500. Stevens told the crowd she was going to go Christmas shopping with the winnings.

Stevens, who said she normally gives her tickets to others, said this was her first year doing Candy Cane Cash. She said she was off work Thursday and decided to come to the drawing. Her winning ticket came from Integris Bass Baptist Gift Shop.

"I'm ecstatic. I'm between pay days and trying to figure out how to do Christmas for my kids, and this is just awesome," Stevens said. "I honestly didn't think I read it (the ticket) right. I had to read it three times ... I'm going to go Christmas shopping for my children."

Other Candy Cane Cash winners were Denise Czapansky, $2,500 from Jumbo Foods; Kelli Miller, $2,000 from Evans Drug and Hearing Aid Center; Misty Brinker, $1,000 from Jumbo Foods; Kelli Schovanec, $1,000 from Garfield Furniture; Pat McDonald, $500 from Jumbo Foods; and Delores Moore, $500 from Jumbo Foods.

There were several giveaways before the Candy Cane Cash drawings, too, including an office chair from Merrifield's Office Supply, $500 from Four J's Tire Service, tires up to $1,000 from Petty Tire, a grill from the Enid News & Eagle, a mattress set from Galaxy Mattress and a giveaway from Copperhead Coatings.

"The goal of the promotion is to get people to shop in Enid, and I think we got people to do that in grand style," said Enid News & Eagle Publisher Jeff Funk. "We were real pleased with the attendance, the participation, the enthusiasm that came through from both people visiting and with the merchants, and the people who are here to win money ... the drawing went faster than we thought because there were so many tickets in the audience, we drew the winners very, very quickly."

Funk said the first year of Candy Cane Cash in Chisholm Trail Expo Center at night during the week went well. Previous drawings were held on Saturday mornings downtown.

"We're happy to be inside where we didn't have to deal with the weather, and it looks like people really enjoyed it, too, because we had a huge crowd. Something in the 4,000 to 5,000 range is what I heard from the Expo Center staff," Funk said.

Enid News & Eagle Advertising Director Dee Joslin echoed Funk's sentiments.

"I think it was fabulous. We asked the crowd during the event if they loved having it indoors, and there was an overwhelming response of yes, they loved having it in here. So hopefully we'll be doing this again in the future, having it inside. The attendance was unbelievable, I think it must have doubled from last year, or tripled," Joslin said. "We're very happy. We thank the chamber, the ERDA, Security National Bank and everyone that helped us put this on, it was a great event."

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Miller is the city of Enid and area reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @Ryanm_reporter. He can be reached at rmiller@enidnews.com.

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