Ball will host Obama, Biden and people of 'home states'
POSTED: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Although it's not on the list of officially sanctioned events, organizers of the Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball still hope the first guest can find time to make an appearance at their gala event on the night of Jan. 20.
Obama can dance all night
The Presidential Inauguration Committee has announced the lineup of 10 inaugural balls to be attended by President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20. (More information can be found online at the committee's Web site: http://www.pic2009.org.)
» Youth Inaugural Ball - Washington Hilton
» Obama Home States Inaugural Ball - Walter E. Washington Convention Center
» Biden Home States Inaugural Ball - Walter E. Washington Convention Center
» Eastern Inaugural Ball - Union Station
» Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball - Walter E. Washington Convention Center
» Midwest Inaugural Ball - Walter E. Washington Convention Center
» Southern Inaugural Ball - National Guard Armory.
» Western Inaugural Ball - Walter E. Washington Convention Center
» Neighborhood Inaugural Ball - Walter E. Washington Convention Center
» Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball - National Building Museum
"We keep hearing that this is the place to be for that night," said Sarah Ulis, president of the Hawaii State Society of Washington, D.C. "We are very hopeful that he'll make a side trip."
It would not be unprecedented for the newly sworn-in president to stop in at an unsanctioned event.
But President-elect Barack Obama's dance card already is quite full.
He and Vice President-elect Joe Biden are scheduled to attend 10 inaugural balls after taking their oaths of office earlier in the day.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee, which organizes the events that Obama and Biden are to attend, yesterday announced the full lineup of inaugural balls.
It includes a ball that Obama plans to hold for his home states of Illinois and Hawaii. Biden also will attend a ball for his home states of Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The Home States Balls are intended to allow Obama and Biden "to celebrate their inaugurations with those who know them best - their friends, families and local supporters," organizers said. Tickets will be available to invited guests for $150.
Obama also plans to hold a Youth Inaugural Ball for Americans between 18 and 35 years of age, as well as five Regional Inaugural Balls inviting guests from the Midwest, the West, the East, the South and the Mid-Atlantic regions to their own celebrations.
Two other events announced previously include a Neighborhood Inaugural Ball and the Commander-in-Chief's Ball.
All 10 officially sanctioned parties will compete with the dozens of other gala events typically planned for the night of the inauguration. The official 10 are likely to gain the most attention because of the promised appearances by the president and vice president.
There are at least two Hawaii-themed events also scheduled that night: the Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball and a recently organized Inaugural Luau.
The Hawaii State Society's event was the first inauguration week event to sell out, with all 1,000 of the $200 tickets being snapped up within days of Obama's Nov. 4 victory.
Ulis sad she still hopes to attract Obama to her event, noting that his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is expected to make an appearance.
Ulis said organizers asked Hailama Farden to write an oli (chant) that is to be performed only in Obama's presence.
Additionally, Hawaiian musical artists Raiatea Helm, Kohala and Keale - who will be performing at the ball - have penned an original song called "Hawaii's Gift," to be played during Obama's dance with his wife, Michelle.
"We are very hopeful that he will be there, even if it's for a few minutes," Ulis said. "We are prepared."
Meanwhile, there are at least three other Hawaii-themed events taking place during inauguration week.
Only one of those events, the Inaugural Luau, is the night of the inauguration.
According to the organizer's Web site, inauguralluau. eventbrite.com, the luau was put together by a "totally grassroots organization that formed suddenly when a bunch of friends going to D.C. for the inauguration were shut out of the Hawaii Society Ball by scalpers."
Other events are scheduled for Jan. 18, including the Aloha Inaugural Ball (alohaball.org) and the Hawaii for Obama Inaugural Gala (hawaiiforobama.org/inaugural-gala.html).
Back home, Hawaii Democrats also have planned an inaugural ball in Waikiki, the Aloha Inaugural Ball at the Royal Hawaiian, scheduled for the night of Jan. 20.