WASHINGTON --The main inaugural ball was set to be held Monday night in a cavernous basement hall of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where as many as 30,000 guests were expected.
After sponsoring 10 official balls in 2009, the presidential inaugural committee opted for just two this year: one massive party open to the public, and a smaller Commander-in-Chief Ball for military families.
President Obama and the first lady were expected to make appearances at both.
On Monday evening, volunteers and staff hustled across the vast floor of the convention hall preparing for the crowd coming to the main event.
A stage at the center of the room was designed in the style of an elegant ballroom, festooned with the presidential seal.