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August 21, 2014

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Inauguration 2009

Washington’s inaugural events: Way too many to count

Green Inaugural Ball for Obama

This man's overcoat was made using old Obama campaign door hangers -- and many, many hours of Recycle Runway designer Nancy Judd's time. Launch slideshow »

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There is one question burning across Washington right now: What event are you going to tonight?

Inaugural functions seem to be all anyone can talk about this weekend -– and with so many things going on, there are no gaps in the conversation. Everyone is talking about where they’re going, who else is going to be there and whether they can get their friends in the door.

Many of the events are sold out.

I went to my first inaugural event. Billed “the Green Inaugural Ball,” it promised to deliver “maximum celebration (with) minimal impact.”

Everything about the event was earth-friendly: they recycled, composted, reserved and conserved. The food was organic (as was some of the booze) and the mood was decidedly green.

Keeping with the theme, I passed up a new ball gown and instead wore one of the fancier dresses that has been hanging in my closet for years.

The last time I wore the lime-hued number was my graduation. From high school. Yup, it’s that old. But it was still kind of fun lace it up one more time.

Plus, it was the green thing to do.

The Green Inaugural Ball was just one of dozens of glitzy galas that are going on in D.C. this week. If you tried to count the pub-based parties and more casual get-togethers, you’d quickly lose count.

There’s a party for every person: An “Equality Ball” for gays and lesbians; a “We are the Change” youth ball for people ages 18-35 that is sponsored by MTV; the first-ever Sikh Inaugural Ball; a Masonic inaugural gala (also the first of its kind); a $5,000-a-ticket a soirée featuring dozens of actors and legendary musicians … the list goes on and on.

The Green Ball attracted the eco-friendly set. It also attracted an eco-friendly star: Wyclef Jean performed.

Wyclef is a green guy and has been named to treehugger.com’s list of top eco-friendly celebrities. Like Just Live, he spread the green gospel from the stage and recycled a few old songs, too: He covered Cypress Hill, Bob Marley and Shakira.

Political, pro-Obama sentiment was laced throughout the evening and the Haiti-born hip-hopper wore a “BaRack My World” banner on his forehead.

The whole thing was pretty surreal. There I was wearing my high school grad dress, surrounded by folks who shelled out a lot of green -- $500 apiece! –- to celebrate the inauguration with like-minded folks.

Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty was there, as were a handful of other well-heeled (and environmentally conscious) folks.

Everyone was dressed to impress and most revelers were wearing sophisticated gowns and dapper tuxes. Yet when Wyclef hit the stage, he took off his bedazzled blazer and rocked out in his undershirt.

The soundtrack for the night was fun and the artists behind it were green, but “hip-hop” and “black-tie” don’t really mix.

If you don’t believe me, try to picture a sea of well-dressed people jumping around to “Jump Around,” organic cocktails in hand.

It was quite the sight – and fun, too.

The whole thing reminded me of a high school dance – one with acclaimed recording artists instead of a lame DJ –- an open bar, that is -- not that that’s a bad thing. I mean, I was certainly dressed for it, after all.

So while it wasn’t a conventional night, it was a fun night nonetheless.

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