Dixon unveils inaugural schedule

Six days of events to include black-tie ball and lighting of Washington Monument

November 09, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

Days after Sheila Dixon made history by becoming the first woman elected mayor in Baltimore, she made it clear that she knows how to do more than win - she knows how to party.

Dixon, who won Tuesday's general election with 88 percent of the vote, unveiled a six-day schedule of events to mark her inauguration, including stops along the way to promote city workers, families and senior citizens.

After her swearing-in at Morgan State University on Dec. 4, Dixon will host a black-tie ball at the Baltimore Convention Center - the headline event - emceed by Susan Taylor of Essence magazine and featuring live musicians.

"I think that the mayor's historic swearing-in and then the gala that evening is an extraordinary opportunity for us to bring together all the citizens of Baltimore," Dixon spokesman Anthony McCarthy said. "We're very excited."

Several of the events announced yesterday as part of the celebration are typically attended by the mayor, such as the swearing-in of City Council members, the annual lighting of the Washington Monument and the annual open house at City Hall.

The swearing-in is free, but participants must obtain tickets. The inaugural ball will cost $50. Like other elected officials across the country, Dixon has established a nonprofit group to accept donations for the party.

That arrangement has been criticized at times as a way for individuals and companies to make financial contributions to officials outside state campaign finance regulations.

An Internet site created for the inauguration notes that "Maryland and federal campaign finance limits are not applicable," and the site suggests that sponsors can donate up to $25,000.

McCarthy said the administration will make public all individuals and companies giving money to the nonprofit.

Former Mayor Martin O'Malley organized a large celebration when he was elected in 1999. Irish, big band and gospel musicians played in War Memorial Plaza, and 70 restaurants provided food for the event.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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