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The inaugural ball will be held at the state Capitol, after all

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Dec. 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
December 7, 2012 5:38 pm

Organizers had planned to move the Jan. 16 party to St. Martin’s University in Lacey. But elected officials raised a fuss, state officials were able to hammer out solutions to many of the logistical problems organizers had raised about the Capitol campus, and the ball is returning to where it has been held since Gov. Booth Gardner‘s first inauguration.

The organizing committee was “able to pull off a pretty incredible switch to get it back on the Capitol campus,” said former Secretary of State Ralph Munro. “It really becomes a gala then, and much more than just a routine event.”

This time, of course, the guest of honor will be Jay Inslee, who extended Democrats’ hold on the governor’s office that Gardner began in 1985. Munro, a Republican, is a member of Inslee’s transition team.

Lisa Cosmillo, a spokeswoman for the organizing committee, had said that problems with the Capitol campus included a lack of parking and facilities accessible to the disabled, plus the potential for damage to the campus and of gatecrashers coming in one of numerous entrances.

But she said tents with food and entertainment would be set up on the south side of the Capitol, where they won’t cause damage to its sandstone and where people with disabilities can access them without first navigating the building’s stairs. Ceremonies will still be held inside, under the dome. The change will also reduce the number of entryways.

“The parking issue is what it is. Everybody seemed to feel they would prefer to have a hard time parking but still be at the Capitol,” Cosmillo said.

An insert will be placed in invitations, which have already been printed, she said.

St. Martin’s graciously let the committee withdraw from a contract to use the facilities, she said: “They rose to that occasion.”

Rep. Sam Hunt of Olympia, who had earlier resigned himself to the move to Lacey, said there was “just enough pressure” from many people, including those reluctant to buy tickets, to force a switch. “I’m glad that things worked out and we don’t have competing events,” said Hunt, who had been talking about holding some kind of Capitol open house.

Tickets are $100.

Here are the details from the organizing committee:

The Governor’s Inaugural Ball Committee in cooperation with the Department of Enterprise Services and Incoming Governor Jay Inslee’s transition team would like to announce that through a cooperative effort the Ball’s location has been moved back to the Capitol’s grounds.

Lisa Cosmillo, the committee spokeswoman said that the logistical concerns that first demanded a move away from the Capitol have been discussed with the relevant players, managed and changes have been made that will help with accessibility and security, therefore enabling the event to return to the Capitol on January 16.

In light of the efforts to move the Ball to the Capitol, Saint Martin’s University has graciously released the committee from its commitment to its location.

The IBC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of Thurston County Citizens who gather every four years to put on the inaugural ball for the incoming governor and state leaders. All funds used for the Ball come from the sale of tickets.

This year’s ball’s theme is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Temple of Justice.

For those who have already purchased tickets, a letter will be mailed in the next week with details of the new location.

Tickets are $100/person and available now. Details for ordering are on the web site at wastategovball.org, or you can call 360-462-0012 or they can be purchased in person at the

Visitor and Convention Bureau: 103 Sid Snyder Ave, Olympia

Chamber of Commerce: 809 Legion Way SE, Olympia

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