Local News

Last-Minute Preparations Under Way For Inaugural Ball

Posted January 14, 2005 4:18 a.m. EST

— Saturday is Gov. Mike Easley's inauguration, when he will be sworn in for a second term. The main event will be the Inaugural Ball during which there will be entertainment, dancing and plenty of delicious food. In preparation for the event, there has been non-stop work all day, including rehearsals, for the live two-hour gala show.

Organizers and performers from across the state want everything to be perfect for the 5,000 expected to attend the gala and ball in honor of the governor.

For the first time, the gala will be live on television.

"It's pretty important that its timed out exactly to the second," said Thomas Hunt, executive producer of the gala.

With the gala and ball just over 24 hours a way, there are no seconds to waste. From wiring and lighting the stage for the inauguration ceremony to security briefings, there's a lot to do. This year's theme: air, land and sea.

Junior League members are making 280 napkin rings out of real ivy. They've already mastered some of the centerpieces for the tables: Instead of sand, they are putting grits on the sand pails.

When thee tables are filled with food Saturday, party goers will see more than 15,000 hors d'oeuvres. The spread will include 400 pounds of shrimp, 300 pounds of barbecue and 7,000 Krispy Kreme doughnuts dressed up for the big night.

The Junior League has hosted the inaugural ball for 75 years. All the proceeds go to charities the group supports.