GW to sell 5,500 inaugural ball tickets

Tickets for GW’s Jan. 21 inaugural ball will go on sale on Election Day.

The University will put all 5,500 tickets for the ball up for sale Nov. 6, University spokeswoman Candace Smith said. The figure represents 1,500 more tickets than GW offered on the first day of ticket sales for the 2009 ball. Those tickets sold out within 24 hours.

Students, staff, faculty and alumni can purchase tickets online and at the Marvin Center when polls open at 7 a.m. Leftover tickets will be sold through the Lisner Auditorium box office.

Smith declined to comment on ticket prices, saying said “more information will be forthcoming.”

Tickets sold for $75 in 2004 and $85 in 2008, with steeper prices after election day.

More than 1,000 individuals filled a waitlist in 2008, prompting GW to release 1,200 tickets two weeks after selling an initial 4,000 tickets on Election Day. The 2008 ball – the fifth in University history – was also GW’s largest.

The ball will again be held at the swanky Omni Shoreham Hotel. Its seven ballrooms, all reserved by GW, can accommodate up to 5,500 people.

GW is selling 300 more tickets than it did in 2008, when it rented the same amount of space. Smith added that GW would also “reserve some tickets for staff working the event.”

Smith declined to comment on the ballroom rental costs, but said the University plans to make up for the costs through ticket sales.

Four years ago, the University dropped $575,000 to host the luxurious event, including rental costs, security and free transportation to the hotel.

GW’s ball was one of 60 held throughout D.C. as the city welcomed the 44th president. The event featured live bands, GW performers and an array of hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Nearly 75 percent of tickets sold in 2008 went to students, but 20 ambassadors were also in attendance, alongside several local and national politicians.

Smith said the University has not been approached about participating in the Inaugural Parade, a 1.5-mile procession of floats, marching bands, citizens groups and military regiments.

The president’s inaugural committee, which does not start up until after the election, selects participants based on individual applications. During the 2008 parade, the University showcased a 46-foot-long, two-trailer float with a physical representation of each school. The inaugural committee approved the $85,000 float that about 50 students helped build.

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