What it’s like to attend the official inaugural ball

Obamas Inauguration 2013

By Mary Morgan

As the official inauguration ceremony and parade came to an end last night, Washingtonians refused to stop the celebration. Dressed in black tie attire, D.C. celebrated the second inauguration of Barack Obama far into the night.

Last week, Chuck Conconi advised D.C. on how to handle inauguration weekend like a veteran of the affair. Today, I’m going to tell you how to handle inauguration like a newbie, such as myself. And if you haven’t attended before, you should definitely go to an official inaugural ball.

This was my first inauguration in Washington. Following Chuck’s advice that everyone should experience an official inaugural ball at least once, I was quick to jump on the experience when a friend offered me tickets.

This post is about what it’s like to attend the official inaugural ball.

The official ball attracted 30,000 attendees. The excitement level was high, the ball gowns were floor-length, the tuxedos were crisp and the champagne was flowing. Many dates danced from the moment their arrived until the ball’s end at midnight. People posed for their official photos and also snapped many more on the dance floor. A long list of performers covered almost every music genre: Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Black Violin, Fun., John Legend, the Glee cast, Soundgarden and Stevie Wonder.

The moment everyone was waiting for happened around 9. President Obama and the First Lady took the stage, and received a massive round of applause and cheers from the crowd. Jennifer Hudson also appeared, and her rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” was the background for their official dance.

After the Obamas departed for their list of other places that undoubtedly required their presence, the epic Stevie Wonder hit the stage. Stevie attempted to teach the crowd how to sing in harmony to “Isn’t She Lovely.” And thousands of people tried to harmonize for Stevie, but apparently the ballroom’s musical talent was limited to strictly the people on the stage.

The Bidens followed him, with Jamie Foxx to provide the tune of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Attending an official inaugural ball at least once is an experience I would encourage. It’s rather exciting to be part of something as monumental as an inauguration. Standing in a crowd of 30,000 and being able to feel the energy of an historic moment is truly unique and unforgettable.

Next inauguration, I may take Chuck’s advice and attend one of the private soirees or a state society ball. But this night was one I’ll always remember, and I am thrilled to say that I was a part of the experience.

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