tampabay.com

Tickets start at $100 to party with new governor Jan. 2

By STEVE BOUSQUET
Published December 7, 2006


Tickets will go on sale to the public this week for a four-hour party on the day after New Year's, celebrating Charlie Crist's election as governor.

The cost is $100. The limit is two tickets per person.

Crist's campaign Web site, www.charliecrist.com, includes a link for people to buy tickets to the party and other inaugural events.

"People just need to go online and request tickets," said Vivian Myrtetus, Crist's communications director.

But orders were not yet being accepted online as of Wednesday evening. Myrtetus said there will be a two-ticket limit to each ticketed event.

An estimated 2,000 guests are expected for the biggest bash, a ball and concert from 7 to 11 p.m. Jan. 2 at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center after an afternoon parade, street festival and open house at the Governor's Mansion.

The $2.5-million cost of the inaugural is being paid for with private donations, as it has been for past inaugurals.

Wealthy donors have first dibs on tickets.

Under the inaugural committee's sliding scale of "donor benefit packages," a donation of $25,000 includes four tickets to the ball, and the maximum donation of $500,000 includes 12 tickets.

Myrtetus said the inaugural committee will be prepared to accommodate up to 4,000 guests at the ball.

She described the food at the ball as "heavy hors d'oeuvres."

The Florida State University women's basketball team has a home game at the civic center at the same time, against High Point N.C. University. The game is expected to go on as scheduled.

Crist has only one public inaugural event scheduled in the Tampa Bay area, a barbecue luncheon from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Legends Field in Tampa.

Crist, 50, will take the oath of office on the east portico of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee on Jan. 2. That's the earliest possible date that the inauguration can be held.

The state Constitution requires that the governor be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in January.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at bousquet@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.