The Inaugural Ball is hosted on inauguration day following the swearing-in of a new president. This tradition began back in 1809 after the inauguration of America's fourth President James Madison. To honor the military and to offer U.S. troops a chance to join the celebrations, George W. Bush started the Commander In Chief's Ball.
The two events are held simultaneously: The Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center's five exhibit halls; The Commander In Chief's Ball on the third-floor ballroom of the convention hall, which is a mile from the White House. This year, the balls will be held on January 21.
Many A-list musicians are expected to perform at second-term President Barack Obama's inaugural festivities. The list includes Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Alicia Keys, Marc Anthony, Stevie Wonder, Kelly Clarkson, Brad Paisley, Beyonce, and the cast of Fox's hit show Glee. Other expected performers include rap foursome Far East Movement, Mindless Behavior, and youth gospel choir Soul Children of Chicago. Inaugural organizers have yet to announce which performances will be at which convention center event.
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The Inaugural Ball, the larger of the two events, is expected to draw more than 35,000 people. Tickets for the event, which went on sale on Ticketmaster on Sunday, quickly sold out. Organizers are now scrambling to stop some people from scalping the tickets, which originally sold for $60.
Obama has cut the number of inaugural balls lower than any president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. Planners of the events said the cut was to reflect the tough economic times and to minimize the burden on law enforcement, other security personnel, and Washington residents.
However, could Obama's move been an attempt to give presidents some relief from dancing all night? In 2005, President Bush didn't hide his annoyance at having to dance repeatedly to the same music. In fact, he and first lady Laura Bush danced for just 8 minutes and 54 seconds, despite attending 10 galas!