The Official and Unofficial Parties of Inauguration Weekend


The traditions of the inaugural balls dates back to the first inauguration. In 1789, a society dance was held in honor of President George Washington in New York. But the first inaugural ball to be held in Washington, D.C., came following the 1809 inauguration when President James Madison's wife, Dolley, hosted a hotel gala for 500 guests who paid $4 per ticket to attend.

But not all presidents were keen on the idea of the extravagance of an inaugural ball. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson thought an inaugural ball was too expensive, and Warren Harding decided to end the tradition of inaugural balls.

President Harry Truman reinstated the inaugural balls in 1949, and ever since, the number of official balls has risen with the all time high of 14 occuring for President Bill Clinton's second inauguration in 1997.

ABC's Ann Compton contributed to this report.

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