Skip the frigid temperatures in Washington, D.C., and celebrate the inauguration in Hawaii later this month when President-elect Barack Obama's hometown of Honolulu marks the historic occasion with aloha spirit -- and a spate of parties.
The biggest celebration will take place at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, site of the official Aloha Inaugural Ball sponsored by the Hawaii Democratic Party. The Jan. 20 event coincides with the beachfront hotel's reopening after a multimillion-dollar renovation that closed the 82-year-old Waikiki landmark, known as the "Pink Palace of the Pacific," for seven months. Organizers say they expect about 1,000 guests, with tickets selling for $250 each; $1,000 each for VIP tickets. The hotel is offering a presidential package, at $1,800 per couple, that includes four nights in a garden view room and two tickets to the ball. Book online at www.royal-hawaiian.com or call (866) 716-8110 and ask for rate code "Change09."
If you want to skip the pricey black-tie shindig in favor of an event that's aloha-wear-only, try the Aloha Inaugural Party. A fund drive for the Hawaii Foodbank, the Jan. 20 party will be held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and will include live jazz, Hawaiian and dance music. Tickets are $65; www.inauguralpartyforobama.com.
-- Rosemary McClure