Political Party Time

Presidential Ballin': Inauguration Parties Are Here!

The Obamas at the 2008 Commander in Chief inaugural ballIt's barely one week after the election and the first nails have already been hammered into the "Inaugural Platform," signaling the start of the Inauguration cycle - and of course ball season!

People have already started planning their presidential bashes, and Party Time has found 11 unofficial events so far with many more to come - check here to see all them as they roll in. Most of the early planners are state societies, charities and universities. We are always looking for more invites so if you come across one, sent it our way via our upload page or email.

These parties may not have explicit political beneficiaries, but, like convention season, they still provide ample time for lobbyists and politicians to schmooze - something we're always on the lookout for here at Party Time.

One of the premier events of the Inauguration is the Black Tie and Boots Ball held by the Texas State Society. It's possibly the only place on Earth where the dress code not only allows, but encourages Armani suits and bolo ties, or Dior dresses paired with leather boots. (Let's just say these folks won't be winning America's Next Top Model.) The quirky event will cost attendees $250 per head, and past drifters have included Texas Gov. Rick Perry, actor Denzel Washington, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. It may not be the same without a Texan in the White House, but it will definitely bring some Western spunk in this typically frumptastic town. (Check out the Washington Post's brief account of 2009's bash here).

President re-elect Barack Obama's former state society will also be throwing an Inaugural Gala. The Illinois State Society is hosting its ball at the Renaissance Marriott and tickets will cost guests $260. Although most inaugural parties are scheduled to end at midnight, this bash promises "multiple open bars, heavy hors d’oeuvres and buffet stations, continuous live music and dancing from 8:30 PM until 1:30 AM." Sounds like this party might be the one for us!

If you'd like a really expansive celebration, the 12th American Indian Inaugural Ball will have events spanning multiple days. Starting on Jan. 18, there will be a Lounge Reception; the next day will be the Inaugural Pow Wow (anyone up for a good Gourd Dance?); the following night will be the main ball; and lastly comes the post-bash Brunch, for you to recover from all that partying. Tickets start at $130.

But if you want to just chill, man, there's always the Peace Ball, presented by D.C. hot spot Busboys and Poets. Hang out with fellow hipsters and the likes of Ralph Nader, Amy Goodman and Alice Waters to celebrate green energy, non-violence and talk about bands no one has heard of on Pitchfork. Unlike other balls, the dress code isn't strict; they suggest black tie, but tell people "Feel free to express this however you like!" If you don't get into the "Black tie and Boots Ball," maybe you'd fit in just fine here... Or maybe not.

The official events of the Inaugural have not yet been announced by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, but are likely to come around early January.

The members of the committee, which organizes the events at the Capitol,  are leading Republicans and Democrats: Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is the chair.  Other members are: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio;  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. It seems that the best thing to bring about bipartisanship is to throw a party, or ten parties (as they did four years ago.)

Official Inauguration Day Events include a morning prayer service, the procession to the Capitol, the Vice President’s swearing in ceremony, the President’s swearing in, the Inaugural Luncheon, the Inaugural Parade and, of course, the balls. For these festivities, the budget estimate is $1.2 million. The events that take place off the Capitol grounds are organized by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.  Returning presidents and presidents-elect can raise funds from the private sector to amp up the party and they do. The Center for Responsive Politics has a handy list of major donors who underwrote Obama's 2008 inaugural.

(Lindsay Young contributed to this post. Photo of the Obamas at the 2008 Commander in Chief's inaugural ball via iStockphoto.com)

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