If you would like to attend Inauguration events in Washington, DC in January, you don't need an official invitation for many events. In fact, you can invite yourself right now to attend the Illinois State Society Heartland Ball on January 19.
The Illinois State Society of Washington, DC is the oldest state society and was started in 1854 by former Illinois residents who were living in the DC region. From 1854 to 1949, all of the Inaugural Balls were hosted by the state societies of Washington, DC.
But in January 1949, President Harry Truman adopted a policy of so-called "official balls" that were in reality fundraising events to benefit either the Democratic or Republican National Committees, depending on which party won the election.
The state society balls are normally held the night before the Inauguration on Jan. 19 and the partisan balls are held on the night of Jan. 20. Some people attend both events but that is very expensive.
As one who has attended many Inaugurations and both "official balls" and the nonpartisan state society galas, I can tell you that the state society events are a better value and any proceeds above costs benefit nonprofit charities and educational programs rather than the RNC.
In 2013, about 40,000 people attended the "official" partisan balls and 40,000 attended the nonpartisan state society balls. The president-elect president and vice-president-elect do attend the official balls on Jan. 20 and that is the primary incentive for going to a partisan instead of a nonpartisan ball.
To see the President and Vice President, you can purchase tickets to the parade or get in a line for ceremony tickets with your member of Congress. Illinois State Society Heartland ball tickets are on sale now. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE to visit your state society web site.