With two days left until the Foggy Bottom Ball, the University has sold about 700 tickets to the function. That is enough to fill 65 percent of the function room’s 1,100-person capacity.
Although officials compared the event to last year’s Inaugural Ball, the function is aimed at drawing a slightly smaller crowd.
Last year’s ball sold all 3,100 tickets for the event in the Omni Shoreham hotel.
Sarah Venuto, who helped organize the event as vice president of student activities for the Student Association, said she expects students to buy tickets Thursday and Friday.
“I feel like a lot of students will buy them at the last minute,” she said.
SA Executive Vice President Josh Singer said the event was “kind of an all-encompassing thing” that the University, SA and Program Board got together to plan after the original plans of a Sept. 15 fall ball did not materialize. Inviting community members was the University’s idea, student planners said.
Venuto said the University hopes to have a fall “anniversary” ball every year and an inaugural ball every four years.
Past D.C. mayors and current Mayor Anthony Williams are expected to attend this Saturday’s event at the Swissotel Watergate.
All D.C. mayors since 1974 are slated to attend the event, including Williams, Marion Barry (1979-1991,1995-1999), Sharon Pratt (1991-1995) and Walter Washington (1975-1979).
University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said the main purpose of the event is to offer a “fun” event for both students and community members.
“We want to underscore with a great party our long history in this neighborhood and our commitment to the District of Columbia,” Trachtenberg said.
Director of Media Relations Gretchen King said the University has changed the community for the better in the last 90 years, and this ball will mark the occasion.
“When we got here there were stables and gasworks, and now it has been replaced with education, politics and the arts,” King said.
Director of University Special Events Jim Hess said about 65 percent of the 700 ticket-holders for the night of music, food and dance are students.
Tickets are available until Friday for $40, which includes a buffet
dinner and free non-alcoholic beverages.
King said the event will be similar to last year’s Inaugural Ball in terms of its elegance and “good feelings.”
There will be a cash bar and live performances from GW groups like King James and the Serfs of Swing, the Troubadours, the Vibes and the Pitches.
Hess said the Foggy Bottom Ball idea arose when officials discussed ways to commemorate GW’s time in Foggy Bottom.
King said the University waited until later in the academic year to have the event because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“With everything that happened in the fall, it seemed better at the time to postpone until the spring semester,” Hess said.
Organizers noted the timing of the event the day after GW unveils its new logo and Web site.
King also said the event aims to celebrate GW’s Foggy Bottom neighbors, most of whom she said are “happy to have the University as their neighbor.”
Asked what effect the event will have on University-community relations, Trachtenberg said, “I don’t think it will have any effect at all, but I do think it will be fun.”
“You know what they say about chicken soup and colds,” he continued. “If you have a cold and eat chicken soup, it won’t hurt.”
Trachtenberg said he hopes by the end of the ball that community members will have a good impression of students, and vice versa.
He said people are going to come because they are looking to have a nice evening.
“It’s not just girls who want to have fun; it’s going to be terrific,” Trachtenberg said. “You will shave, dress nice, eat, drink, dance, kiss your best girl.”
This article appeared in the February 21, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.