President Barack Obama’s inauguration and the celebration parties aren’t limited to Washington, D.C.
Nearly 160 people turned out in Lake Elsinore Saturday night at the Trevi Entertainment Center for a black tie inaugural ball that included dinner, dancing, and optimism about the next four years.
“Everybody else is having a party,” said event co-organizer Diana Hansen. “Why shouldn’t we?”
Hansen said her group, the Lake Elsinore chapter of Organizing For America -- which she noted will soon go by the name Organizing For Action -- has supported the president’s reelection, but the local emphasis now is about bringing positive change to the area through volunteerism and grassroots action.
“The future holds something for everyone. We’re going to find reasons to bring the community together,” Hansen said.
The president was sworn into office yesterday, but a public swearing in takes place Monday, and for Obama supporters the mood is upbeat, said Nuevo resident Carolyn Bowen, who was on hand for Saturday’s event.
“[The president] is the fighter for the 99 percent,” she said. “We’re the win behind the win.”
Bowen said she campaigned hard for the president by calling voters.
“It means the world to me, what he believes in, what he’s trying to accomplish,” she said.
Several local elected officials were on hand Saturday, including Lake Elsinore Councilman Daryl Hickman and Riverside County Auditor-Controller Paul Angulo, Hansen said.
Timothy Sheridan, an attorney who represents the National Treasury Employees Union, as well as OFA Regional Field Organizer Rolf von Dorp, also attended the event.
“We’ve had a blast,” Hansen added.
Trevi Entertainment Center owner Michel Knight sponsored the Lake Elsinore inaugural ball. Hansen said the businessman charged OFA $1 to rent his facility on Mission Trail.
Proceeds from Saturday’s event will go to furthering the OFA cause and to Knight, who also paid for the dinner and entertainment, Hansen explained.
Saturday’s event also featured entertainment for children of guests. A movie, food, bowling and arcade were included for the kids’ ticket price of $10. Adult ticket cost was $25.
Knight has made headlines in recent years in connection with the failed recall attempt of former Lake Elsinore City Councilman Tom Buckley.
Hansen said the Trevi Center was selected for the inaugural ball based on Knight's willingness to back community organizations.
"He's very supportive and it's an elegant venue," she said. --Toni McAllister contributed to this article.