There will be no inaugural ball tonight: Here’s what will take its place

Local Politics

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: Joe Biden is sworn in as U.S. President during his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – There will be no lavish ballgowns and first dances tonight.

The traditional Inauguration Day ball has been canceled for 2021.

“We definitely want to honor the big, broad traditions of the inaugural,” Tony Allen, the Inaugural Committee’s chief executive, told the Washington Post. “But we also want to be sensitive to the realities of the moment, have safety protocols first and foremost.”

In lieu of the ball, Tom Hanks will be hosting a primetime special Wednesday night.

 “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will contribute a classical recitation, joining musicians like Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake and Bon Jovi. Hosts Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will be joined by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, chef Jose Andres, labor leader Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in MLB history.

The inaugural committee has made sure to blend this high-powered list with ordinary Americans and inspiring stories. Segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsay, the first in New York to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial.

You can watch the performances on the Biden Inaugural Committee’s official channels, including its website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. Networks ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NBC and MSNBC will also air the special live on television at 8 p.m. ET.

According to the White House Historical Society, the first Inaugural Ball was held in 1809 to honor President James Madison and his wife, Dolley. The event reportedly drew some 400 guests and was such a hit that it set a precedent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...