Every presidential inauguration season, Washington DC turns into a party town. From the night before the inauguration through the day itself, there are dozens of balls, galas, and parties that people gathered in the US capital can attend, regardless of their partisan stripe. Real estate mogul Tom Barrack, a close friend to president-elect Donald Trump and head of his inaugural committee, said that the actual inauguration will have a “soft sensuality” and “poetic cadence.” The surrounding blowouts are sure to be more rambunctious.
Here’s a guide to the main events:
Official inaugural parties
President-elect Donald Trump will attend several balls around inauguration day, but specific details regarding which ones have yet to be confirmed. Barrack announced that there would be three official inaugural galas, one of which, the “Commander-in-Chief” ball, will honor the US military. Two of the balls will be held at the Washington Convention Center.
The Trump team is cutting back on inauguration celebrations compared to past presidents—Barack Obama attended nine balls during his first inauguration.“This is a workman-like inaugural. This is not a coronation,” inaugural committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn told ABC.
There have been multiple reports that the committee has had trouble finding big names to perform at the inaugural events, although the Trump team insists the lack of A-listers is intentional. Instead of stars like Elton John, who reportedly rejected an invitation, attendees will get to hear little-known Jackie Evancho, a contestant on “America’s Got Talent.”
Quartz reached out to the inaugural committee for comment, and we will update this post as soon as more details about the official parties are released.
The most controversial party in town
The “DeploraBall,” the most contentious inaugural event, will take place on Jan. 19 at the National Press Club in Washington DC. It’s a cocktail party organized by Trump supporters from the so-called “alt-right” movement, who re-appropriated and wear as a badge of honor Hillary Clinton’s now infamous description of them as a “basket of deplorables.” The party, now “completely sold out,” according to organizers, revealed fissures among the movement, after white nationalist leader Richard Spencer and social media personality Tim Treadstone were uninvited, the latter for tweeting anti-semitic and racist remarks. In response, The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, called the event an “an attempt at a sanitized, cuckolded, pro-Jew version of the NPI conference,” referring to a recent alt-right gathering where attendees hailed Trump with a Nazi salute.
The “Gayest Gala in DC”
This inauguration night gala, organized by Gays for Trump, will take place in Potomac, Maryland, and include dancing and dinner. It’s the second “flagship” DeploraBall event, with the tag line “the gayest gala in DC.” The art deco-style invitation reads “mystery, drama, intrigue … deplorables.”
Any DeploraBall you want to organize
The DeploraBall organizers want Trump supporters from across the country to organize their own parties under the brand—partiers in 18 states plan to do so, according to the website.
Another Deplorables party, Florida style
As if all the DeploraBall events weren’t confusing enough, a Florida-based pro-Trump group called “Deplorables Nation” is throwing its own event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Jan. 19. “In order to preserve Freedom and Make America Great Again we the Deplorables Nation must be vigilant,” the description of the ball reads, inviting “deplorables” from across the country to celebrate Trump’s inauguration. The group was founded by a Cuban-American from Miami, and will feature a performance by a ”Country/Rock” group called “Saints of Havana,” a “a musical collaboration between Cuban musician brothers Rey and Cesar Montecristo and their All American front-man Aaron Shea.”
The Texas “Black Tie and Boots” ball and other state-organized parties
Many states hold their own inaugural galas in Washington DC. The “Black Tie and Boots” is touted as a “Texas-sized production,” and its organizers are expecting nearly 10, 000 people to attend. “Don’t miss the chance to kick up your boots and celebrate with us,” they write. The Texas bash will include performances by an array of country stars and college dance teams, while New Jersey’s Garden State Gala will feature B-Street, a Bruce Springsteen cover band. The band underlines on its website that the gala is “nonpartisan” and that B-Street also performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration celebrations. Springsteen himself was a notable Hillary Clinton supporter, at one stage calling Trump a “moron.”
A “Gilded Age” production
There are plenty of nonpartisan events to attend in Washington, among them a 1920s-style celebration at the National Portrait Gallery. The organizers of the “Great Gatsby Presidential Inaugural Ball” describe the party as a return to the time of women’s suffrage, Prohibition, and the end of World War I, in the “same hallowed halls where President Abraham Lincoln (#16) held his own Inaugural Ball.” The ball will feature 11-piece orchestras, dance performances, and contests.
A celebration of “hope and resistance”
Although also a nonpartisan event, The “2017 Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance” features many prominent voices from the left—and vocal Donald Trump critics—as guests, including civil rights activist Angela Davis, CNN commentator Van Jones, journalist Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Lives Matter activist Alicia Garza, author Naomi Klein, and actress Ashley Judd. Solange will perform at the event, which is organized by Andy Shallal, founder of the Busboys and Poets restaurant and bookstore, an iconic Washington DC institution. The Peace Ball will be held at the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture on Jan. 19. Shallal told The Washington Post that the event wasn’t about protesting Trump, but instead was a “celebration of accomplishment” on criminal justice reform, gay rights, and health care.
A party for the real donkeys and elephants
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is also throwing an inauguration celebration—the “Animals’ Party”—to honor lawmakers involved with initiatives to protect animals. This will be an interesting one, not least because of the event’s hosts: actress Pamela Anderson, a well-known animal rights activist, and Mary Matalin, a prominent Republican strategist, who changed her party affiliation to Libertarian last year. ”People say that animals have no voice, but in Washington, PETA depends on the voices of ‘elephants,’ ‘donkeys,’ and even those with no party mascot,” PETA head Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.