South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley outlined plans Tuesday for inaugural celebrations that will include a return to having a fancy gala along with a family fun night.
That family fun night will be held Jan. 11, on the eve of Haley becoming the state's first woman governor and the nation's second state chief executive of Indian American descent. That State Fairgrounds event will cost $20 for each adult ticket and children under 18 get in free.
"It will be a wonderful time for families to get to meet Nikki's family," said former state GOP Chairman Katon Dawson. Dawson and his wife Candy, along with Kenyon and Cathy Wells, are co-chairmen of the inaugural committee. Haley's historic moment will catch national attention, Dawson said.
On Jan. 12, Haley will cap a day of inaugural events, including lunch with the state's now all-Republican lineup of constitutional officers and an open house at the Governor's Mansion. That will be followed by a $250-a-ticket gala at the Colonial Life Arena.
The gala is a bit of departure for recent inaugural parties. In 2003 and 2007, Gov. Mark Sanford instead held barbecues at a cavernous produce sheds at the State Farmer's Market in Columbia. Both fit Sanford's frugal image well. The state GOP wanted a ritzier fling in 2007 and put on its own gala to celebrate GOP officers taking offices. "It was an exciting time and people wanted a gala and the governor had deferred to us," Dawson said.