TribLIVE

| State

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Lean inaugural events reflect Pennsylvania's hard times

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Peter Jackson
Monday, Dec. 20, 2010
 

HARRISBURG -- The celebration surrounding Tom Corbett's inauguration as Pennsylvania's 46th governor will not include a parade around the Capitol. No concerts by rock legends. Just one inaugural ball.

Organizers said they are limiting the number of events, citing hard economic times.

A performing arts program, a Roman Catholic Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral and an inaugural ball at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex will be part of the Jan. 18 event.

Inaugural celebrations usually combine casual parties with formal events. The bills are paid by private donors, including corporations and organized labor groups that often have a direct stake in state policies.

In the modern history of gubernatorial inaugurations in Pennsylvania, Mark Schweiker set a standard for low-key in 2001. He took the oath less than a month after 9/11 and days before his predecessor, Tom Ridge, officially became the country's first homeland security chief.

Schweiker was sworn in on the front steps of the state Capitol before about 2,000 people. There was no parade, no ball and no entertainment besides a marching band from Bloomsburg University,Schweiker's alma mater.

Ridge's first inauguration attracted 9,000 people in 1995. Afterward, he and his wife led the state's first inaugural parade in 20 years in a march around the Capitol. Five thousand attended a ball at the Milton Hershey School, where two orchestras, a jazz ensemble and three smaller groups performed.

Four years later, as Ridge started his second term, 3,000 people paid $50 a ticket to attend a pre-inaugural concert featuring Motown artists, and even more attended a ball spread over three ballrooms, each featuring dance music from a different period.

When Democrat Ed Rendell took office in 2003, more than 5,000 people joined the inaugural parade. Nearly 10,000 paid $50 apiece to attend a concert featuring Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker, and a ball in a dressed-up farm show complex.

In 2007, Rendell's second inauguration featured another concert -- by Bon Jovi, the Dixie Hummingbirds and one-time teen idol Frankie Avalon -- in conjunction with the ball.

Corbett, a Republican from Shaler who is state attorney general, is not having a parade. Like Ridge and Rendell, he plans to take his oath on the steps of the east entrance to the Capitol, where a large fountain is framed by a granite amphitheater.

Tickets to the arts program, the Mass and the inauguration are free, but seating will be limited. Tickets to the ball are $150.

The inaugural committee has set up a website -- www.corbettcawleyinaugural.com -- where people can learn more about the events and order tickets. The site offers four sponsorship levels, with a $50,000 contribution getting four tickets to a benefactors dinner, four preferred seats at the swearing-in ceremony, eight tickets to a sponsors' reception and recognition in the inaugural program.

Organizers are still firming up the event's details, said spokeswoman Kirsten Page.

"It's like planning a wedding for 8,000 people in two days," she said.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pennsylvania

  1. Medical pot has advocate in Pennsylvania House
  2. Teen could spend 10 years in prison for role in injuring Ohio teacher
  3. Boy youngest to receive double-hand transplant in Philadelphia
  4. Wolf critic: Public being misled on projected use of shale tax money
  5. Probe continues in fatal shooting in Sharon hospital parking lot
  6. Technology races ahead of Pennsylvania wiretap law
  7. Nude man found drinking beer among pigs, say police in Lancaster County