Who's Who of Chicago Headed To Inauguration

Inaugural Finance Committee Offers $50,000 Package

More than 1 million people are expected to head to D.C. for President-Elect Barack Obama's Inauguration on January 20. It will be, by far, the most well-attended Inauguration ever!

There will be several official events on Inaugural Day including the swearing in, the parade, and several official Inaugural balls. There could easily be several thousand people at each ball. It will be an exciting, but logistical nightmare, and let's just say your new dress might not be seen too well on this night.

There will also be a mix of Inaugural Committee events, and events sponsored by other organizations all week long. For instance, GQ Magazine, which held a great party at the convention, may hold another bash in D.C. as well.

President-elect Obama's long-time friend who he went to Harvard with, Hill Harper (a star of CSI Miami), had a fabulous party for him on election night here in Chicago at Underground. He is rumored to be doing another one in D.C. as well. This will be one hot party to get invited to!

Most of the states will be hosting their own mini-balls, but the hottest ticket in town that's already sold out is the Illinois State Society Ball which will be held on January 19. This is in the same manner that President Bush's home state of Texas' ball was the hottest ticket for his inauguration, because people were hopeful that he would show up -- which he did. People at the Illinois State Society Ball will be hoping the same thing happens with President-Elect Obama.

The Inaugural Finance Committee is made up of supporters who have donated $50,000. These people will be attending a series of events beginning on Saturday night, January 17. Some local supporters at this level include Keith Bronstein, Twana Edwards, Fred Eychaner, Suzanne Faber, Anne Gottlieb, Howard Gottlieb, Elzie Higginbottom, Blair Hull, Paul King, Barry Malkin, Steven Malkin, John Rogers, Cari Sacks, Michael Sacks, Timothy Schwertfeger and Gail Waller. Some celebs at this level include Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Berry Gordy, Samuel Jackson, Dale Chihuly, Robert Zemeckis, and Christopher Guest donated $25,000.

President-Elect Obama has decided not to accept any corporate, PAC or lobbyist money to fund the Inauguration. Additionally, individuals are limited to a maximum donation of $50,000 per person. The Inaugural Committee -- which must still raise almost $50 million -- has released the details of their Inaugural Package, which includes two tickets for events on Saturday night through Monday night and four tickets for the Inauguration Day events on Tuesday.

It is, of course, not necessary to have this package to enjoy the Inauguration. There are many other wonderful events sponsored by other groups and companies, and the entire Mall is open to the public during the swearing-in (or perhaps you were lucky enough to get free tickets through your Senator or Representative), and the parade is free. The D.C. City Council had initially passed an "emergency ordinance" to allow bars to stay open all night, but later scaled it back.

If anyone is interested in donating at the $10,000 to $50,000 level and attending some of these wonderful events, you can contact my friend, Katherine Gehl, and be a part of history in the making. Katherine was on the President-elect's National Finance Committee for the campaign, and she is now fundraising for the Inauguration. She can be reached at kgehl@gehls.com.

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