Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Inaugural Ball Offers Some Jersey Attitude

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Inaugural Ball Offers Some Jersey Attitude

Article excerpt

A Springsteen tribute band played as attendees filled themselves with three different kinds of "authentic Jersey diner" french fries at a New Jersey-themed gala celebrating the start of President Obama's second term Sunday night.

The party, held in a hotel on Washington's New Jersey Avenue the evening after Obama formally took the oath of office, attracted about 800 attendees, according to organizers. Among them were some of the best-known politicians of the Garden State, including U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

Governor Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, were billed as honorary chairpersons of the event, but they did not attend. The governor's office said Christie was traveling outside New Jersey, but did not specify where.

Tickets went for $300 each, with $30 going for the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. The New Jersey State Society, the Washington-based organization for Jersey natives, which put on the event, was hoping to raise $15,000 for the fund.

Most people in the crowd were New Jersey transplants living in Washington, or New Jersey wannabes who came to the event because of a business or personal connection.

Donise Cameron, president of the State Society, said the party was aimed at New Jersey residents who have moved away.

"So many of these expatriates are in this area, and they're homesick," she said. "They want a little bit of Jersey in D.C."

Down the hall from the ballroom where the B-Street Band entertained attendees with Bruce Springsteen tributes, and near the Jersey diner buffet, was the "Atlantic City Boardwalk Casino" -- a collection of table games offering a grand prize of two round-trip plane tickets.

The casino, Cameron said, "was just another way to not be stuck in a ballroom with people."

The casino was empty for much of the early part of the event, though, while attendees were eating their diner food, which included macaroni and cheese and three types of french fries: Boardwalk, disco and waffle. …

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