Glitzy Texas inaugural ball more laid back

WASHINGTON (AP) - Move over Longhorn steer and longneck beers. Make room for tropical luaus and Chicago dogs.

President George W. Bush's exit from the White House is a swan song for Texas and all its excess that has dominated the Washington scene the past eight years.

President-elect Barack Obama's home states of Hawaii and Illinois are now the rage.

Tonight's Texas Black Tie & Boots ball, although not an official inaugural ball, is one of the hottest inaugural tickets in 2001 and 2005. The ball is thrown by Texas expatriates wanting to celebrate their state on a Texas scale.

Actor Denzel Washington is on the program to introduce Shuttle Endeavour astronauts.

Obama's election rival, Sen. John McCain, won Texas and the state is still red.

But in something of a political shift, the ball features a table of Obama souvenirs outside the main ballroom and is close to a VIP dinner that's closed to media.

Tickets to the Texas ball were going for half the $300 price on Craigslist.

The Texas-style party is at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, located about a 15-minute drive south of the District of Columbia in Prince George's County Maryland.

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On the Net: Texas State Society:

http://www.texasstatesociety.org/

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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