GW has booked the Smith Center as the temporary venue for the Inaugural Ball Jan. 20, event planners said. A permanent location will be found after legal challenges end and the Electoral College declares a president elect in the coming weeks.
Officials booked the band Odyssey, a local cover band, set ticket prices at $45 and have started invitation designs for the event, which is more than a month and a half away, said Jim Hess, director of University Special Events.
The event is open to students, faculty, staff and friends of the GW community. There is no limit on the number of tickets one person can purchase, Hess said. Students are allowed to invite friends and family members.
The ball cannot be held in the Marvin Center like past ones, including 1996, because renovations will not be complete by Jan. 20.
This year, GW organizers want to find a location with the ambiance of a presidential ball, said Mike Gargano, assistant vice president of Student and Academic Support Services.
GW is looking for a site large enough to hold about 3,000 people, Hess said.
The Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have booked many venues around the city, causing GW and other organizations to be placed on waiting lists. None of the sites large enough to host GW will make commitments with the University until the DNC and RNC cancel their reservations after the president is declared, Hess said.
Both the DNC and RNC could not be reached for comment.
It has been frustrating and hard to move ahead, Hess said. We won’t know the site until the winner is announced.
GW’s planning committee has been working on event plans since the beginning of the fall semester.
The committee consists of members of the Program Board and other student organizations, a representative from the faculty senate and other faculty members, Hess said
The committee will invite many special guests including senators, congressmen, influential political figures in D.C. and the incoming president and vice president, Hess said. He would not disclose any of their names.
GW’s Inaugural Ball is not a sanctioned ball. The president-elect attends about 10 official balls.
In addition to the live music, the black-tie event will also include surprise activities and an hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffet, Hess said.
Tickets for the ball will be available from Dec. 4 through the holiday break in the Special Events Office in Rice Hall suite 504, or by phone.
Tickets not sold when students return from break will be sold for $55.
Hess said he has been involved in GW’s last two inaugural balls and said he encourages everyone to attend.
It is an opportunity to celebrate being in Washington, D.C., at this time, he said. It is certainly part of the allure and the changing of a nation’s leader is a pivotal point. This (celebration) allows everyone to feel more a part of that.