ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer, beset by tough economic times, won't be wining, dining and dancing with 900 invited guests to celebrate his second inauguration Jan. 16.
Austerity is the byword. And the four post-inaugural receptions have been canceled.
The inaugural committee mailed 16,000 invitations to public officials, Mr. Schaefer's friends and supporters of his political campaign. About 2,500 people are expected to attend the outdoor ceremony. But there'll be no parties for the select 900.
It's just one more example of what Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary, said will be a "low-key, austere and very, very traditional" inauguration. Throughout the planning, which began in November, the committee overseeing the inauguration has tried to "cut every corner that we can cut," said Mr. Schurick. The end result is that the inauguration will cost less than its $36,000 allocation.
At one time, the committee had planned to have a tent and a heater for the inaugural stage. No more. There were plans to really dress up Annapolis and have bunting all along the approach to the inaugural site. That idea was nixed, too.
"Since the very first meeting we have been conscious of the tight economy," said Mr. Schurick.
But five musical groups will perform on inauguration day. They've all donated their time and will entertain the public from 9:30 a.m. until the inauguration begins at noon. And there'll be food, which also will be donated.
Other parts of the inauguration will go on as always. Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy of the Court of Appeals will administer the oath of office. The governor will be presented by one of his old friends, U.S. District Court Judge Norman P. Ramsey.
There'll also be a receiving line for the governor to shake hands with everyone who attends the inauguration. For the 900 people the governor had looked forward to seeing and thanking personally under more private circumstances, a handshake in the receiving line might be as good as it gets on inauguration day. A handful might get to attend a dinner that evening, but most will have to wait for another time.
That doesn't mean the 900 should go out and do the town. Instead, the governor has asked that they donate whatever money they might have spent on inaugural activities to the Maryland Food Committee or another charitable organization.