Blue Note will host a free presidential inauguration ball

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | 8:13 p.m. CST; updated 9:13 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 7, 2009

COLUMBIA — Blue jeans and boots or a tailored tux. All are welcome to celebrate Pres.-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

A free inauguration ball will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. on Jan. 20 at The Blue Note.

The event, Tatters to Tuxedos, will feature a video feed from Washington, D.C., live music by Bill Thompson and Friends and Ironweed Blue Grass Band. Drinks will be served and guests are encouraged to bring their own snacks.

Nancy Harter organized the event, which is sponsored by the Boone County Democrats and Democracy for Missouri.

Tatters to Tuxedos was coined by volunteer Diane Booth as a way to spread the message that anyone is welcome to the event.

“As the flier says, you can come as informally or formally as you’d like, blue jeans or tuxedos,” Harter said.

Harter had lived in Washington, D.C., for 37 years before moving to Columbia in 2003. She had attended inaugural balls before and thought it would be fun to have one in Columbia.

“I went to the Democracy for Missouri and Boone County Democrats to see if they’d like to sponsor one, and they said yes as long as I organize it,” Harter said.

Harter began thinking about an inauguration ball at the end of November, gathered people who were interested in helping and sent out the first fliers Dec. 19.

The Blue Note was chosen because it has the space, equipment and two bars and had hosted the Democratic watch party in November.

“The Obama people called for a watch party, and we were happy to do it. It was a no-brainer to host the inauguration ball, it’s what we do,” Richard King, owner of The Blue Note said.

King expects 200 to 300 people to show up to the event.

“It could be more, it’s a free event and the hours are pretty user-friendly, and based on the turn out for the watch party, quite a few people could show up,” King said.

Harter hopes the event will attract everyone from "18 to 80 and above."

“It was the youth that brought home the vote for Obama, but I hope that everyone will come out and celebrate,” Harter said.

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