Enid rolled out the red carpet for more than 800 state legislators, officials and Enid city leaders Sunday night at the 2016 Oklahoma Speaker’s Ball.
The Enid Event Center and Convention Hall hosted the event, which began at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour in Convention Hall and a three-course dinner and entertainment in the Event Center.
The Northwestern Oklahoma State University Singers serenaded the event, and the evening closed with a performance from Tulsa-based band The Tractors, performing “A Journey through Oklahoma’s Music History from Bob Willis to Vince Gill and Beyond.”
“It’s obvious that Enid is making a great impression on people from all over the state, decision makers from all over the state, those in political circles, those in organizations who could be looking at locations to have events in the future,” he said. “It’s a great celebration for our local folks.”
Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said it’s great to bring the event, which has been historically held in Oklahoma City, to this part of the state.
“I love to show off our part of the state, and this just kind of happened,” he said. “We weren’t planning to move and the Enid Host Committee just rolled out the red carpet, literally and figuratively. They’ve put together a wonderful evening. It’s just great to have our leaders from around the state here to see all the great things happening here, and a lot of people here who have probably never even heard of the Speaker’s Ball, let alone been to one.”
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, an Enid native, emceed the event and said it was a sold-out crowd.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve been to several Speaker’s Balls and I don’t know any time in state history, certainly recently, that it’s been held outside of Oklahoma City. For this event, for Speaker Hickman to ask Enid to host, and for the community to say, ‘We’ll be happy to host,’ it says a lot about the community.”
The Speaker’s Ball picks an organization to support each year, and this year’s fundraising went to the Food for Kids Backpack Program, by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, founded in 2003 which provides backpacks of nutritious food, at no cost, for students to eat over the weekend.
The event was sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, the Chickasaw Nation, the Choctaw Nation, Cox, the Enid Regional Development Alliance, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Koch, the Oklahoma State University Foundation and the Stock Exchange Bank.
STORY PROVIDED BY ENID NEWS AND EAGLE
WRITTEN BY: SALLY ASHER