Party-Goers to Pay High Price for a Piece of Inauguration Fun

Various Balls and Events Leave Attendees with Plenty of Options

Unofficial inaugural parties, balls and gala’s are drawing a buzz throughout the metropolitan area with only 40 days left until the official Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama.

Event planners and party promoters are racing against time to prepare for an unprecedented Inauguration week with projections of nearly four million people coming to the city.

Tickets for Inaugural events are beginning to sprout up everywhere as the competition for the best party in town stiffens; leaving party-goers with multiple choices for an event suiting their interests.

However, the deteriorating economy and Christmas, just 14 days away, hasn’t brought down steep ticket prices.

The American Music Inaugural Events is set to host two events: “The Inaugural Legends Ball” and “The Urban Inaugural Ball” at the Washington Marriott beginning at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20.

For a hefty fee of $650 the balls will offer a complementary gift bag, heavy hors d’ oeuvres, drinks and live entertainment for guests.

Dionne Warwick is scheduled to host The Legends Ball with attendees such as Chaka Kahn, George Clinton, Dennis Edwards of The Temptations and Yolanda Adams.

The Urban Ball, hosted by rapper Ludacris, will also feature various celebrity guests, including Monica, Bobby Valentino, Fantasia, Big Boi of Outkast and Cedric the Entertainer. Tickets to both balls are available online . Temuir Pessoa plans on making the nearly 200 mile trip from Glenside, Pa., for the Inauguration.

“I plan on being with my girlfriend and her family,” he said. “I’ll probably end up going to the (National) Mall and to an event at night, but I’m not willing to spend more than $60 to $100 for tickets to any inaugural party.”

Folks like Pessoa who are on a budget will have to scrape for tickets to a less expensive event like the ball hosted by The George Washington University at 8 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Omni Shoreham hotel.

Nearly 4,000 tickets have already been sold for entrance to the ball but according to a Nov. 26 news advisory from The George Washington University website additional space was secured allotting 1,200 tickets to be available for purchase beginning Dec. 1 for $100.

Eager attendees who wish to purchase tickets may not want to hold their breath since ticket priority will go to the 1,500 people who have been on the waiting list since Election day.

Sharon Williams, Event Coordinator for The President’s Ball sponsored by the Maryland Inaugural Special Committee, hopes to fill Arbor Ballroom and Conference Center in the Washington Times building to capacity.

“The site holds 1,000 people so that’s what we anticipate, there’s no specific demographic,” she said. “The audience will be citizens from across the United States who want to be apart of history– it’s not a stuffy event but it will be an elegant event.”

The President’s Ball will feature musical performances by Charles Covington, The Softones, The Rollex Band and Panama. The six-hour ball beginning at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 is competitively priced at $200 per ticket if purchased before Dec. 31 and $250 after Jan.1.

For some, the expensive ticket prices will force people like Kenneth Connell to celebrate in the privacy of their own homes or join the pandemonium in the streets.

“I plan on going to the mall and enjoying the free events,” Connell said. “I’m not going to be spending hundreds of dollars on tickets. That’s a guaranteed no.”

For more information regarding inaugural events check your local newspaper or online publications.