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The Great Inauguration Sweepstakes

Free plane tickets for you and a guest, free hotel, plus tickets to the swearing-in ceremony for Barack Obama, the parade and one of the official balls!

All you have to do is write an on-line essay, of any length, about what the inauguration means to you.

You can also make a donation to the inauguration, but you don’t have to, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is making the offer: “No purchase necessary.”

Ten winners will be selected, but act now. The filing deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 8, the committee said in a posting on its Web site.

The offer is part of the committee’s effort to raise money to pay for the inauguration.

“Unlike past inaugurations, this one won’t be funded by lobbyists or corporations,” the posting said. “Barack is counting on grassroots supporters like you to make this the most open and accessible inauguration in history.”

Applicants can donate any amount, up to $50,000, the inaugural’s self-imposed limit, said committee spokesman Kevin Griffis. The committee will judge the essays, he said.

But a donation won’t help you win, the committee said. “Contributing to Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009 will not improve your chances of winning,” the posting said.

Griffis said the offer is also aimed at giving a few people who could not afford to attend the inauguration a chance to do so.

You must be 18 to enter, and you can enter the contest as many times as you like without a contribution, the committee said. Contestants can enter with a click.

Winners will be selected by Jan. 15, “by the strength of their essay,” the posting said, and will be notified by email on or before Jan. 16.

One more thing: The contest is, of course, “void where prohibited by law.”

By Michael E. Ruane

By Marcia Davis  |  December 31, 2008; 4:27 PM ET  | Category:  Presidential Inaugural Committee
Previous: Inaugural Ball Watch: Maryland's Bash | Next: What's Prohibited Where

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