Inauguration Weekend is already underway for the 57th Presidential Inauguration, but the biggest and most buzz-worthy events are scheduled to unfold over the next several days. Of course, the highest-profile event is The Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center (Jan. 21), the single official ball that is open to the general public. With performers including Katy Perry, Usher, John Legend, and the “Glee” cast expected to take the stage, this event may be one for the ages (tickets requests for this event are no longer being taken by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, but can still be found here). The other official ball, the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball, is reserved for members of the Armed Forces.
Although official ball tickets may be the most coveted on the evening of the Inauguration, many State Societies are organizing their own special celebrations throughout the weekend. The most popular of these (according to recent internal page views) is the Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, hosted by the Texas State Society on Saturday, January 18. The event had 11,000+ attendees in 2009, making this one truly Texas-sized affair.
Second and third in popularity have been the Illinois State Society Inaugural Gala (Jan. 19) and the New York State Society Inaugural Gala (Jan. 20). It’s worth pointing out that 1) the Illinois State Society ball is different from the Illinois Presidential Inaugural Celebration (Jan. 20), which is being organized by President Obama’s former colleagues in the state senate; and 2) the New York gala is actually a joint venture put on by New York, Delaware, and Maryland State Societies, so you might see it listed under different names.
Other states are having their own fun as well. From New Jersey (Jan. 20) to Kentucky (Jan. 19) to Washington State (Jan. 19), the “several states” sure do know how to party. Don’t forget daytime events, such as the Nebraska Society Inaugural Brunch (Jan. 20) and the California Inaugural Fashion Show and Luncheon (Jan. 19).
Aside from State Society events, one the most popular events for 2013 may be the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball (Jan. 20), chaired by Russell Simmons. Mr. Simmons was part of the Hip-Hop Ball back in 2009, and apparently he did a good job the first time around. General Admission tickets are $500, making it one of the pricier galas scheduled. While there, you might see Wayne Brady, Meek Mill, and other performers, as well as actress Eva Longoria (who will be rather busy that night, seeing how she’s also the host at the Latino Inaugural Ball (Jan. 20)).
If you’re interested in the hip-hop inaugural theme throughout the weekend, check out the BET Networks Inaugural Gala (Jan. 21), which is more “modestly” priced at $300/General Admission.
Although partying it up and having a good time may be one of the main draws to these galas, honoring deserving people is another reason to attend some of them. The Salute to Heroes Banquet and Ball (Jan. 21) is a traditional inaugural event at which recipients of the Medal of Honor are recognized. Another military-themed even, the Heroes Red, White, and Blue Inaugural Ball (Jan. 20) is geared toward veterans and is hosted by a group which helps military families.
If you are feeling like you want to step into a foreign country for the evening, you have plenty of parties from which to choose. You can try the Fiesta Americana Inaugural Ball (Jan. 18), the International Inaugural Ball (Jan. 19), or the Ambassadors’ Inaugural Ball (Jan. 21). You can also take in some tropical breezes at the Jamaican Inaugural Ball (Jan. 19), the Virgin Islands Association Inauguration Ball (Jan. 19), the Caribbean Inaugural Ball (Jan. 20), or the U.S. Virgin Islands Friendship Inaugural Ball (Jan. 20).
If none of these move you to get up and go to an inaugural event, then simply try a different event with an American Indian theme, a fraternity theme, a green theme, a religious event, something for kids, something for the business community, a swing dance, a good ol’ fashioned scavenger hunt, or something for foodies. Oh, and don’t forget that federal agencies are having open houses on January 18.
These are, of course, only some of the many galas and other events scheduled for the weekend. With such a wide variety of events to choose from, chances are you’ll find one that’s right for you.