WILKES-BARRE – Holiday spirit wasn't the only thing in the air on Public Square Saturday afternoon.
One lucky grand-prize winner had the chance to enter a money booth, having just a minute to collect as much floating cash as possible.
Sponsored by the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, the drawing was a culmination of a season-long ticket giveaway to attract customers to area businesses.
Raffle tickets were given away at more than 40 Greater Wilkes-Barre businesses within the last few weeks.
Business association President John Chaump stressed the importance of the organization's mission: promoting the downtown area and economic well-being of Wilkes-Barre through events like this.
We wanted to do something to unite the downtown this holiday season, Chaump said.
We also wanted to put together an event that not only featured downtown businesses but actually brought people to them, he said.
Last year, the nonprofit organization sponsored an event that matched local artists with area businesses to decorate storefront windows in holiday themes. Though the Window Wonderland event carried over this year, Chaump said they wanted to add a little something extra this time.
We thought adding a bigger component like the money booth would be a great way to bring people out to the event, he said.
It worked. More than 100 people gathered to hear the winning names drawn.
And just to make sure that only those on his nice list were called, none other than Santa Claus himself read off the names of the lucky winners.
Perhaps no one was luckier than Angela Prekopa, a self-proclaimed regular downtown shopper who was announced as the grand prize winner.
I was saying ‘please, please, please call my name,' Prekopa said. I told myself that if I won, I'm going to pay bills.
In her minute's worth of time in the money booth, Prekopa was able to pull in $195 out of a possible $500 in cash.
I was ready to cry when they called my name, she said. I'm so thankful.
In addition to the money booth sponsored by the Anthracite Newstand, several other downtown businesses contributed prizes of their own to the drawing. Those prizes, which included gift certificates, gift baskets and jewelry, were raffled off before the big winner was announced.