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Organizers Prepare for Weekend Inauguration

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RALEIGH — Preparations are underway for this weekend's inauguration of Mike Easley as N.C.'s governor. Workers are putting the final touches on Friday night's black-tie inaugural ball.

At the Raleigh Convention Center, workers are rolling out the carpet for the new governor, council of state members and 7,000 of their friends.

Volunteers are decorating the ballrooms with countless yards of native greenery. The food and entertainment will also be homegrown.

The Embers, Liquid Pleasure and Leon Jordan will all perform at the ball. Seafood and barbecue are on the menu for the event.

Ball guests paid between $100 and $5,000 for their tickets. Organizers hope to raise about $300,000 to benefit at-risk youth.

Easley and the council of state will be sworn in at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Archives Building on Jones Street. The public is invited to watch, then join celebrations at Bicentennial Plaza from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museums of history and natural sciences will host celebrations from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

"You don't have to pay anything. You just come," says Louanne Crumpler of theInaugural Committee. "It's a party being sponsored by the state of North Carolina for the people of North Carolina."


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