Obama-Biden Inaugural Features Two Green Celebrations

WASHINGTON, DC, January 13, 2009 (ENS) – In honor of President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, millions of people are heading to the nation’s capital to celebrate the inauguration set for January 20.

First up, and greenest, the Green Inaugural Ball: Maximum Celebration, Minimal Impact, on Saturday at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium celebrates grassroots efforts to protect and improve the environment. The carbon-neutral event is open to the public. Tickets for the black-tie gala are $500 apiece and five percent of ticket prices will go to nonprofit groups that have partnered with event planner Event Emissary.

President-elect Barack Obama (Photo courtesy Obama Transition Project)

Grammy Award-winning musician and social activist Wyclef Jean will perform. The Haitian-born performer created the nonprofit foundation Yéle Haiti in January 2005, and the charity already has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken Haitians through its programs of sustainable development.

This Green Inaugural Ball is produced by Event Emissary, Washington, DC’s first green event planning company, which has thought of everything in terms of how it affects the environment.

Event Emissary co-founder Jenna Mack said, ” With millions of visitors headed to Washington for President-elect Obama’s swearing in ceremony and accompanying celebrations, the impact on our environment will be substantial. Our goal is to create an unforgettable evening while treading lightly on the Earth.”

The Green Ball’s power consumption will be minimal and the electricity used to produce the event will be offset by the purchase of renewable energy credits. Decorative lighting and audio-visuals use only the most efficient equipment. Food waste and floral arrangements will be composted.

Vice president-elect Joe Biden (Photo courtesy Obama-Biden campaign)

Guests are encouraged to take public transportation and the venue was selected because it is located half a block from a Metro station. Event Emissary will purchase carbon credits to offset all truck deliveries and staff commutes for the event.

Even the web hosting company handling the Green Inaugural Ball website is green. AISO.net, based in California, uses solar panels to run their green data center and office and their servers use less energy and generate less heat than conventional equipment.

Obama and Biden are invited to attend The Green Ball: Maximum Celebration, Minimal Impact, but there is no guarantee that they will show up.

A second green inaugural ball will be hosted by former Vice President Al Gore on Monday, the night before the inauguration.

The invitation-only affair at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is called “The Green Ball: Inauguration of a New Green Economy.” Ticket prices to the sold-out event were not made public.

More than two dozen ecological and environmental coalitions are mentioned on the invitation, which encourages attendees to “bring together a diverse coalition of environmentally-forward organizations, entrepreneurs, scientists and advocates, celebrating a commitment to growing the New Green Economy.”

Poster created for the Obama inauguration (Poster by Bobbi Miller-Moro)

On Saturday, President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden and their families will journey to Washington, DC by train, holding events that are free and open to the public along the way.

Beyonce, Bono, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder are among the performers on stage Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial for the opening celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural. The event will be free and open to the public, kicking off what the Presidential Inaugural Committee calls “the most open and accessible Inauguration in history.”

The concert, “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial,” will be presented by HBO on Sunday, January 18, 7:00-9:00 pm ET/PT. HBO will televise the event on an open signal, working with all of its distributors to allow Americans across the country with access to cable, telcos or satellite television to join in the opening celebration for free.

Musical performers also scheduled for the event include – Mary J. Blige, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, James Taylor, and will.i.am.

Reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington.

“We have found that the great artists are eager to take part and each one is working with us to find music that expresses the optimism and hope that people bring to the Obama inauguration,” said Michael Stevens, a producer and writer of the show.

On Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President-elect Obama will call on all Americans to make an ongoing commitment to serve their communities and their country. A new website, USAservice.org, makes it easy for Americans to organize service events or find existing events. To date, nearly 6,000 events have been organized.

Michelle Obama with daughters Sasha and Malia at the 2008 Democratic National Convention (Photo by Marc Piscotty for Congressional Quarterly)

Monday evening, Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and their families will host a free “Kids’ Inaugural” concert to honor military families, broadcast live on the Disney Channel and Radio Disney.

Musical performers for the Kids’ Inaugural event include the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Bow Wow.

On Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20, for the first time in history, the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public for the swearing in ceremony at 10 am on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.

President-elect Obama will take the oath of office, using President Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.

On the evening of Inauguration Day, the first ball that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend is the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, JAY-Z, Alicia Keys, Shakira and Stevie Wonder are scheduled to perform. Broadcast live on ABC television stations and over the Internet.

The other nine official presidential inaugural balls where President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden are guaranteed to make an appearance are:

Dr. Jill Biden (Photo courtesy Obama-Biden campaign)

Youth Inaugural Ball: for the 18 to 35 crowd. Ticket cost: $75. Venue: Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Obama Home States Inaugural Ball: for Illinois and Hawaii residents, invitation-only. Ticket cost: $150. Venue: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place N.W.

Biden Home States Inaugural Ball: for Delaware and Pennsylvania residents, invitation only. Ticket cost: $150. Venue: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place N.W.

Eastern Inaugural Ball: for residents of Eastern states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, invitation only. Ticket cost: $150. Venue: Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. N.E.

Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Western inaugural balls: Mid-Atlantic includes invitees from New York to West Virginia; Midwest includes such states as Kansas, North Dakota and Missouri; Western states include California as well as Guam, American Samoa. Ticket cost: $150. Venue: Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Southern Inaugural Ball: for residents of Southern states, invitatio-only. Ticket cost: $150. Venue: National Guard Armory, 2001 E. Capitol St. S.E.

Commander in Chief’s Inaugural Ball: Open to enlisted active-duty and reserve military; ticket cost not released. Venue: National Building Museum, 401 F St. N.W.

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