Will President-elect Barack Obama make it to either of the two much touted “Green” Inaugural balls?
Probably not. One is slated for January 17 and the other for January 19 -- and neither event scores in the hit parade list of the top ten Inaugural events.
The ten official balls, planned by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, will be held on the night of January 20, 2009 -- and are the only ones that the Obamas and Bidens are sure to attend, according to a roundup published by About.com.
This may leave former Vice-President Al Gore out in the cold. The global warming guru is hosting a green inaugural ball the night before the Inauguration. On tap, more than two dozen environmental organizations – all aiming to ramp up awareness of solutions for climate change.
The Al Gore bash, like the earlier Green ball slated for Jan. 17 will feature recycled floats, organic and local food and wine, and composting of biomass waste.
Look also for biodegradable containers, plates, and utensils. According to the About.com roundup, all plastics and Styrofoam will be conspicuously missing, and caterers will put all leftovers and trash into a “composting stream” that will be carted off to a facility in nearby Maryland.
Meanwhile, the other Green ball slated for January 17, will feature only organic food and beverages. And like the Gore event, the floral arrangements will be composted, and all bottles will be recycled.
Even the lighting for the Green balls is environmentally friendly – featuring LED Color Blasts that use a small portion of the electricity and generate less heat than conventional lighting sources.
Which is not to say that the first string of ten balls on Jan. 20 will be business as usual. The invitations are printed on recycled paper and all invitees are encouraged to carpool and take public transit.
For those willing to brave the forecasted cold, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is providing a map of bike routes from the suburbs to downtown. They’re also offering free bike parking for the inaugural event at the Jefferson Memorial and NW 16th Street.
Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for Obama’s inaugural committee, said that, “not only are we committed to holding an inauguration that is the most open and accessible in history … but we are also committed to making sure that it is as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.”
The ten official balls – all on the night of January 20 – are listed as compiled by About.com: Neighborhood Inaugural Ball - Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. Tickets available free or at an affordable price. It is the first official inaugural ball of its kind to be held during a presidential inauguration. Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball - National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. The ball is in honor of the country's active duty and reserve military. Invited guests will include wounded warriors (Purple Heart recipients), families of fallen heroes, and spouses of deployed military. Tickets will be provided free of charge to all invited guests. This event is not open to the general public. Youth Inaugural Ball - For Ages 18-35 - Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW. This ball will celebrate the inauguration and the role young Americans can play to serve their communities. Tickets $75. Obama Home States Inaugural Ball - Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. Illinois and Hawaii invited guests. Tickets: $150. Biden Home States Inaugural Ball - Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. Delaware and Pennsylvania invited guests. Tickets: $150. Eastern Inaugural Ball - Union Station, 40 Massachusetts Ave NE. CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT, PR, and USVI invited guests. Tickets: $150. Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball - Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. MD, VA, DC, NY, NJ, and WV invited guests. Tickets: $150. Midwest Inaugural Ball - Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. KS, IN, IA, MI, MN, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI, and MO invited guests. Tickets: $150. Southern Inaugural Ball - National Guard Armory, 2001 East Capitol St. SE. AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, and TX invited guests. Tickets: $150. Western Inaugural Ball - Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. AK, CA, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY, AZ, CO, NV, NM, UT, OK, GUAM/AS and invited guests. Tickets: $150.
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