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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Africa and International Friends Inaugural Ball

The Africa and International Friends Inaugural Ball will be staged January 20, 2009 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. It will be one of the largest events to celebrate the election of Barack Obama and was conceived as "a festival of the cultures of the world." The ball will be hosted by Kenya, birthplace of President-elect Barack Obama's father. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has embraced the event. Leaders from from Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Europe will be attending the ball.

Reverend Walter Fauntroy and Nelson Mandela are cochairs of the ball. The Gaylord resort can accommodate the 15,000 people expected to attend the ball. The ball will be held in 265,000 square feet of space at the Gaylord. The main event, in the 50,000-square-foot Potomac Ballroom, with tickets priced at $1,000, will include a full dinner and the main staged entertainment. The 35,000-square-foot Maryland Ballroom will host a celebration with a buffet and staged entertainment for $500 a ticket. In the 180,000-square-foot exhibit hall, revelers will be treated to hors d'oeuvres, staged entertainment and music from a local disc jockey for tickets of $250 each. The three venues will be linked by JumboTron giant screens. will allow people in each of the rooms to see what is going on in the other events," she said.
At a three-hour meeting yesterday, Fauntroy, Bryant and event planners walked the hotel, completed the menu and finalized the program.

The main event in the Potomac Ballroom will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., opening with a recorded message of congratulations to Obama from Mandela, followed by the O'Jays with their anthem "Love Train." Other confirmed performers include Pieces of a Dream, Lalah Hathaway, Raheem DVaughn, Brick and Maxi Priest. The parties in the Maryland Ballroom and exhibit hall begin at 8 p.m. Tickets or Call 301-358-3845 for more information. (The Washington Post, 1/4/09)
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