The Official and Unofficial Parties of Inauguration Weekend

President Obama to attend two Inaugural balls compared to nine in 2009

ByABC News
January 15, 2013, 6:17 PM

Jan. 20, 2013 -- With the pomp and circumstance of the presidential inauguration come the parties, and for revelers this inaugural weekend, the official balls have been scaled down to two while unofficial soirees fill the weekend's social calendar.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee is hosting just two official inaugural balls this year, compared to the 10 official balls in 2009. The two balls, which will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Monday, will be the fewest balls held by a president since Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration in 1953.

One official celebration is the Commander-In-Chief's Ball to honor members of the military and their families. Tickets for the military ball, a tradition started by President George W. Bush in 2005, are free for invited attendees, which will include an estimated 4,000 active duty and service members, Medal of Honor recipients, and wounded warriors and their spouses.

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But the giant fete of Monday night will be the Inaugural Ball, which is expected to host an estimated 35,000 people across the 700,000-square-foot convention center, according to The Associated Press.

The ticketing process for the balls faced a snafu when Ticketmaster, the outlet tasked with selling tickets at $60 a piece to the official ball, accidentally made the sale available one day early, causing the big fete to sell out before the intended sale time and leaving many hopeful party attendees empty handed.

Perhaps the best party is shaping up to be the Inaugural Ball just for the President and his staffs from the campaign and White House.It is being held the night after the public balls, Tuesday, at the same convention center, but different entertainment:Lady Gaga.

But it's not just the official balls that will rule the weekend. A number of unofficial balls are planned by state societies, interest groups, and other organizations across the Washington, D.C., area.

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The Texas State Society is hosting a Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball at National Harbor with tickets starting at $250 on Saturday, and the Green Inaugural Ball at the Newseum has performer scheduled and members of the Washington Redskins team on Sunday.

On the night of the Inauguration, Churckey, a local bar, plans to host the Inaugural Brewer's Ball, featuring drinks from 10 breweries and the opportunity to mingle with stars of the brewing community for $150.

And who says just the adults should have fun? On Saturday, Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will host the Kids' Inaugural Concert, which was first held in 2009, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Though the details of where each of the musical acts will perform has yet to be announced, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has said that Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, fun., members of the cast of "Glee", John Legend, Katy Perry, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior, Nick Cannon, Smokey Robinson, Soul Children of Chicago, Stevie Wonder and Usher will all perform at the weekend's various official parties.

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.