Washington, December 21 (ANI): With U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural ball drawing near, the biggest challenge before the organisers is to establish a balance between the "pomp and show" and avoidance of ostentation in the wake of the global economic crisis.
There are indications that the expenditure on Obama's inauguration may be scaled down to this end.
"We are mindful of the fact that people are really struggling right now in their lives, but on the other hand we see this as a real opportunity for people to come together and share their common values and goals," Fox News quoted Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
"To that end, we certainly think that it's going to be a series of events that feel hopeful and optimistic," she said.
She added that the events to be held would underscore Obama's official inaugural theme 'Restoring America's Promise'.
Gil Troy, a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said that the planning of the events will be such that it will achieve a balance between opulence and common sense.
"Obama has to square a circle. He has to balance between the joy of his transition and the sobering nature of these times," he said.
"It can't be an inauguration on the cheap, because Americans love the pomp and circumstance. But it can't be the inauguration like the one Reagan had that was so excessive that even Barry Goldwater was appalled," he added, referring to the former Arizona senator who was America's conservative icon at the time.
He even said that Michelle Obama will also have to balance her image as first lady.
"With the Kennedyesque excitement that the Obamas bring, there will be a lot of focus on Michelle Obama's dress. She has to show that she's elegant, but not excessive," he said.
Douglass refused to divulge details on the inaugural ball plans by saying that "the nature of the balls have not been released as of yet."
She, however, revealed that the inaugural festivities would be "the most open, accessible, and inclusive inauguration in recent history."
Obama's transition team have announced that he and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will travel to Washington on an Amtrak train the weekend before the inauguration on January 20, and that their families will hold events at three cities along the way -- Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore -- before arriving in the capital.
"This is one of the steps that we're taking to try to make sure that we're able to involve Americans who are not coming here to Washington, D.C.," said Douglass.
According to her, Obama's parade route would be more accessible to spectators, and the committee has been working with local authorities to open up the National Mall for people who do not have tickets.
She also revealed that congressional offices would distribute a total of 240,000 inaugural ball tickets free of charge. (ANI)