Local Politics

Ball caps off inauguration eve

Posted January 9, 2009 8:20 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Inaugural events for Governor-elect Beverly Perdue continues Friday evening with the Inaugural Ball held at the Raleigh Convention Center.

“It’s a really important night for North Carolina as we begin anew and focus on the challenges before us and it’s a great opportunity,” Perdue told WRAL News. “I’m privileged just to be the governor of North Carolina.”

Up to 5,000 people were expected to attend the ball, which featured musical entertainment from bluegrass band Chatham County Line, Fantasy, Tres Chicas and The Rick McClanahan Trio.

Guest chefs from more than a dozen restaurants across North Carolina are providing hors d'oeuvres and desserts.

Perdue wore a red gown created by local designer Lynda Bunn. The dress will be donated to the N.C. Museum of History following the ball.

The night began with a reception in the center’s grand ballroom. About 1,000 people were expected to attend the $150-ticket event.

Harpist Laura S. Byrne and flutist Mary E. Boone provided entertainment.

The reception was followed by a Gala Presentation in the exhibition hall where the Council of State members were formally introduced. The reception featured music from jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and others.

Earlier Friday, Perdue attended an inter-denominational prayer service.

"It's important for the people of North Carolina to know that this is going to be an administration that's based on ethics and sunshine and trying to do the right thing day in and day out," Perdue said following the service. "That starts, in my book, with faith."

Inauguration festivities began Thursday night with a reception honoring the new Council of State and a concert geared toward young voters. The Junior League of Raleigh sponsors both events, as well as the inaugural ball, to raise money for charity.

The inauguration for Perdue and the nine members of the Council of State is scheduled for Saturday morning on the steps of the state Division of Archives and History building on Jones Street. Five thousand seats will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

The inaugural parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Fayetteville and Davie streets downtown, and the weekend's activities conclude Saturday afternoon with an open house at the Governor's Mansion.

Inauguration attendees also have a chance to help people in need through a food drive. Non-perishable food items can be donated at the Governor's Mansion and near the library at Jones and Wilmington streets.