Inaugural Ball tickets sell out within 24 hours

Tickets for the University’s Inaugural Ball sold out Tuesday, just minutes after President Barack Obama was reelected and less than 24 hours after sales opened up.

All 5,500 tickets were purchased by 11:51 p.m., University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

The sixth-ever ball, the largest in GW history, will take place Jan. 21 at the extravagant Omni Shoreham Hotel near Woodley Park.

Election Day got off to an early start for hundreds of students, who staked out the Marvin Center as early as 4 a.m. to snag Inaugural Ball tickets for $100 each – the steepest price tag yet for the event.

Non-student tickets sold for $150. In 2008, tickets sold for $85 on Election Day and $75 in 2004.

Sherrard did not return a request for comment about the breakdown of the different types of tickets sold.

By the time sales opened at 6:30 a.m., a line of about 300 students snaked around the building’s first floor and down to the lower level by the bookstore. The first students in line, most of them freshmen, said they sat bundled-up outside for two hours until the building opened.

Dozens of students were in line at about 4:30 a.m., mostly sitting and chatting with friends or using laptops. As 6:30 a.m. approached, excitement grew, and students played songs like “We are the Champions.”

Kathryn Bugg, executive director of University events, said Tuesday that GW would likely sell tickets throughout the day, moving to the third floor during the watch parties.

“We are expecting to sell out by the end of the day again, though there are more tickets this time, so we’ll see. There’s a lot of buzz this year,” she said.

This year, the University opened up sales for all of its tickets on Election Day. In 2008, GW only offered 4,000 tickets on the first day of sales, releasing an additional 1,200 two weeks later.

“It’s a great once-in-a-GW-student’s-lifetime experience, so if you’re going to go, this is your shot to go,” Peter Konwerski, senior associate provost and dean of student affairs, said.

He added that each of the seven ballrooms would have a different musical theme, from pop music to more traditional big band music.

Freshman Jessika Eglin stood in line at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and said she would enjoy the ball regardless of who took office.

“It really doesn’t matter to most of us who wins the election,” Eglin said. “This is an experience, and who else gets to say they attended an inaugural ball in Washington, D.C.?”

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