Friday, January 18, 2013
Texas storms Washington, D.C. for Inaugural balls
Those in-the-know refer to the Hill as "Little Houston."
WASHINGTON, D.C. Incumbent Barack Obama will be sworn in for his second term as President on Monday, but festivities held in honor of the Inauguration will actually start taking place even sooner.
The Texas State Society will host its annual Black Tie and Boots Ball, a tradition that has been in place for more than 30 years.
“It has become known as the biggest inaugural ball, and stands apart from the rest due to its size,” according to Veronica Custer, communications director for the event. “In 2009, over 11,000 tickets were sold.”
Many Texas natives living in the D.C. area have the chance to “visit home” every four years at the ball, and an estimated “30 percent of attendees traveled from Texas.”
With the ball’s many traditions, including “the Texas Fair marketplace, open bar, and great food,” the Black Tie and Boots affair stays true to its Southern roots.
“[In 2009] there were over 20 artists that performed on six stages,” Custer said.
She said the ball’s consistent success is thanks to “stellar entertainment from artists with Texas ties.”
Past performers have included country favorites such as Asleep at the Wheel, Tracy Byrd, Sara Evans, and Jack Ingram, among many others.
Several past artists are returning this year, along with “Country Music Hall of Fame Legend” Charley Pride and over 30 other groups and soloists.
In a press release earlier this month, the 2013 chairman of the ball Doug Centilli said, “We’re in an amazing venue with an unbelievable line up ... It’s going to be an experience [attendees] won’t forget.”
Along with new artists, the ball will also be ushering in several new features.
“We’ve added a coffee house-type acoustic room, more food options, and the Texas Fair will be open two days,” Custer explained. The ball will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, and tickets sell for $275 per non-member.
Many other states also host Inaugural balls over the weekend, in addition to the official Inaugural balls hosted by the president.
Attendance is expected to be lower at this year’s inauguration, mostly because of the country’s economic state and the fact of it being an incumbent inauguration.
While there were 10 official balls hosted by Obama in 2009, the president has chosen to hold only two this year in light of the country’s financial situation.
Both the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball — an event specifically for members of the Armed Forces — and the Inaugural Ball will be held Monday evening in the Convention Center, following the presidential swearing-in ceremony.
There will also be a staff Inaugural ball held the following day, which is rumored to be featuring special entertainment for the smaller, invitation-only White House crowd.
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