Pennsylvania's powerbrokers throw a party
At the Pennsylvania Society of DC's Inaugural Ball, there was no power outage.
(ABOVE PHOTO by Denise Clay)
By Denise Clay
The Philadelphia Sunday SUN's coverage of the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama was sponsored by the following: Darlene Christie; Yvonne M. Downey, M.A., Executive Director of Haddington Multi Services for Older Adults Sharyn Flanagan; Kreyol Essence- For those serious about healthy hair, skin, and body...online at www.kreyolessence.com; Brian Marcus; Gerson Martinez and his new book Becoming Mr. Martinez: My Immigrant Journey, which will be coming soon to a bookstore near you; Nashay Pendelton; Cathy Santos, Women Veterans of America; Celeste Tucker, Black Political Empowerment Project of Pittsburgh, and Benet Wilson. We thank you for your contributions to our coverage.
WASHINGTON, DC--Among the heavy hitters in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton of Washington during the Pennsylvania Society's Inaugural Ball last Sunday night, Brenda Eison of South Philadelphia stood out.
That's because she had the most show stopping accessory in the room: a large, custom made, black hat. It was a floppy hat that had a bit of a1920s flair in addition to sequins that gave it drama.
It was a hat made for a special occasion like a party thrown the night before the second Inauguration of the nation's first African American President.
"This is my first Inaugural ball," Eison said. "I'm having a great time tonight. I came down four years ago for the first Inauguration and it's even more special because it's happening with Dr. [Martin Luther] King's birthday."
The Ritz-Carlton of Washington was annexed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Sunday night when the Pennsylvania Society's Washington chapter had its annual bipartisan gala.
Or at least it was as bipartisan a room filled with primarily Democratic political heavy hitters could be. Packed with dignitaries including former Gov. Ed Rendell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers leader John Dougherty and Councilpersons Blondell Reynolds Brown and Bobby Henon, the room tilted slightly toward the left.
About 700 people came out to dance to the music of A Night of Stars Featuring Mark Rivera Entertainment and Catie Curtis, dine on gourmet food, drink champagne, participate in a silent auction that featured items ranging from signed jerseys from New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, and former Pittsburgh Steelers greats Lynn Swann and Terry Bradshaw, to the chance to be a fighter pilot for the day.
It was also a time to connect with politicians, businesspeople and other powerbrokers from around the Commonwealth and from the Nation's Capital.
But for many, this was mainly a chance to start their celebration of another term for President Barack Obama a little early. While there weren't as many people as there were four years ago, the smaller crowd didn't make things any less raucous.
"It's still just as festive," Reynolds Brown said. "While there may not be as many people, I don't think the celebration is at all diminished."
For Dougherty, it was the chance to see an event that he's attended frequently over the last few years (he only comes to Democratic Inaugurations, he says) through the eyes of people who may never have been there.
"I have some new staffers that I've brought with me," he said. "I'm seeing this through their eyes."
But in the end, the gathering was about making connections. Eison and her friends, Beatrice Gaines and Ingrid Parris of Virginia and Ann Wallace and Frances K. Wood of Virginia, were seated at a table laughing and having a good time and enjoying the moment.
"It's been wonderful," Wood said. "I've been meeting some fabulous people here."
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