Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
Not everyone will be able to attend the inauguration of America’s 44th President, Barack Obama. And not everyone should, especially if your idea of a celebration doesn’t include cold weather, transportation hassles, inflated lodging expenses, and day after day of crowds. More than a fair share of visitors is expected to venture to Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009 to watch up close as Barack Obama is sworn into office. But there are other ways to be part of the inauguration and celebration without visiting DC and without braving masses of crowds.
Truth be told, thousands of native DC residents and workers are actually making plans to leave the city. Some are making plans to take the day off from work. The Washington, DC metro and local transportation systems are also preparing in advance to handle to the onslaught of inauguration travelers. Try one of these alternatives to avoid the hassle and crowds.
The 2009 Inaugural Ball
The Maryland Democratic Party is hosting an official ball to celebrate the inauguration on the weekend before the swearing in. The event will feature music, dancing, and special performances from Tony award winner Savion Glover. It will be held January 18, 2009 at the Mayflower Hotel (1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036) from 7pm to 11pm. Black tie attire is optional, but what’s a ball without pomp? Tickets are $125. You can purchase them from the Maryland Democratic Party website.
Yes We Can Inauguration Cruise 2009
On this first ever inauguration cruise in honor of an American president, you will travel roundtrip in seven days from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore is less than an hour from Washington, DC, though the city has also planned its own festivities in honor of the Obama inauguration. The cruise includes onboard gaming, a stop in Freeport Bahamas, attendance at the Yes We Can Ball at the Francis-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore. For reservations, visit www.yeswecan2009cruise.com or call 1-866-621-2560.
Witness to History Celebration
The National Association of Black Journalists is hosting pre-inauguration cocktail party, with special guest Gwen Ifill. For bargain price of $40 for nonmembers, you can get hors d’oeuvres, music, and drinks from 6pm to 9pm at the NVLP Headquarters in Washington, DC. Attire is optional black tie. For more information, visit the National Association of Black Journalists main website.
Sit In On Oprah
Oprah has been a staunch supporter of Barack Obama since long before his nomination. Now, as a demonstration of her continued support, she is bringing her television show to Washington, DC. On January 19th, she will air Oprah from the Kennedy Center. She also plans to take her televised audience to the inauguration as well. There is also word that she will host a party in honor of Obama, though nothing yet has been confirmed.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities Inaugural Gala Ball
R & B Neo Soul artist Rahsaan Patterson joins in the celebration on Monday, January 19th at the Sequoia hotel in Washington, DC. From 8pm to 1am, enjoy the music as you partake of the festivities and provide a contribution to the organization of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the purchase of your ticket. For more information, http://www.hbcugala.com/.
Be the Change Inaugural Ball hosted by MTV
At the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, MTV will host its inaugural ball on January 20th from . The ball will celebrate both community service and volunteerism as well as commemorate the swearing in of America’s 44th president. For more information, visit www.greatseats.com.