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Inaugural Ball Watch: Ilinois Gala

A U.S. president or president-elect has never attended the Illinois State Society Presidential Inaugural Gala since the group upgraded its inaugural reception to a ball, starting in 1989 with the first Bush.

But the society, which now has one of the hottest tickets in town, is hoping President-elect Barack Obama will make an appearance at its $1 million affair at the Renaissance Washington hotel on Jan. 19.

“He came four years ago as a senator,” said Jeanne Jacob, a past president of the society.

The group is planning an extravaganza, taking over every meeting and ballroom possible of the downtown Marriott hotel, Jacob said. There will be 12 bands, two high school choirs and lots of food and champagne. Tickets that allow guests to attend both a dinner and gala have been sold out. There were just 1,500 of those.

The group, however, can squeeze 5,000 into the hotel for dancing and revelry, Jacob said.

The society is predicting a sell-out.

Jacob said Obama would be added to the list of presidents Illinois can claim: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan. “Everybody always forgets Grant,” Jacob said.

By Nikita Stewart

By David A Nakamura  |  November 14, 2008; 1:20 PM ET  | Category:  The Balls
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It's kind of overwhelming with all the choices, out there and some of the balls aren't prohibitive because of how "hot" the tickets are, but how expensive they are :-( As someone from a military background and charitable orientation, I hope people look outside the box at options like the ball I'm attending, the "Unity in Service" Ball. This and plenty of other smaller balls don't cost a million dollars (the ball still has some tickets that are available for less than $100 which is really cool) and it benefits military families in need. All of the more charitable ones sound great, though. Anyone interested in ANY of the balls official and unofficial can go to www.presidential-inauguration.com (non-official site that has all kinds of balls for all preferences and price options) and then the ball I'm going to is at www.unityinservice.com (and if you want to support military families that find themselves in unexpected circumstances, I hope you'd take a look at that one :-) But wherever folks end up, I hope they have fun!

Posted by: bsquared31 | November 14, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

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