WASHINGTON — FROM the size 100 Texas boot and 10,000-gallon hat float in the inaugural parade to the $22 million to $25 million price tag, the American bicentennial presidential inaugural will be the biggest in history. We're talking big as the state of Texas, as Bush-Quayle inaugural co-chairpersons and co-Texans Bobby Holt and Penne Korth outline it.
The five-day inaugural bash includes some of the biggest prices in history, too. These range from $1,500 for a black-tie inaugural dinner ticket to a $25,000 box for eight at the televised, star-paved inaugural gala that includes the Oak Ridge Boys, Yo-Yo Ma, Roberta Peters, Loretta Lynn, Julio Iglesias, the US Army Herald Trumpets, Frank Sinatra, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
According to oilman and rancher Bobby Holt, ``We've raised about $22 million'' for the inauguration. This is the highest amount in history; nearly seven times higher than the $3.5 million in private money for the Carter inaugural in 1977 and greater than the $20 million Reagan inaugural in 1985.
Mr. Holt says the reason for the cost is the increase in free events. ``Our budget has to pay for the events we're charging for and underwrite the events we're not charging for, which are 53 percent greater than ever before.'' Included is an opening celebration today at the Lincoln Memorial, where the audience will be given flashlights to shine for the ``1,000 points of light'' volunteerism theme of President-elect George Bush.
``Because of the exciting uniqueness of this having so many wonderful children's events and open events that are nonrevenue, we have to make this up through the revenue events,'' Holt says. On Saturday, in keeping with the George Washington to George Bush bicentennial inaugural theme, there will be a children's inaugural festival: ``George to George - 200 years'' with entertainment by Big Bird, a 100-man fife-and-drum corps, magicians, and clowns, as well as a kids's parade led by Barbara Bush with her grandchildren and Marilyn Quayle with her children.
Other free events include an inaugural educational forum for high-school students, ``Looking Forward,'' at which Vice-President-elect Dan Quayle will speak; an hour-long historical show, ``American Presidential Pageant,'' and ``An American Tribute to Democracy,'' a patriotic musical show.
Mr. Bush wanted to include more people from more walks of life in the inaugural events, aides say. So more than 250 teachers, some from each state, will be brought to Washington to meet George Bush, the self-described ``education president.'' And a train will be dispatched to bring several dozen policemen from Boston; Springfield, Mass.; and New York City to the inauguration of the man endorsed by their police associations for his tough-on-crime campaign.
At the inaugural headquarters in the Washington Navy Yard, there are huge blow-ups, like a scene from the movie ``Top Gun,'' of George Bush in his US Naval Reserve flight jacket. Bush has also invited members of his World War II flight crew and the submarine which rescued him after he was shot down while flying a mission. And the Bushes will open the White House doors to the public on Saturday, his first day in office.
Those who attend the pricey inaugural gala, the $1,500 black-tie dinners, and the 10 inaugural balls will not find a Texas brand on these events, say co-chairpersons Holt and Korth, both long-time Bush family friends. During the 1985 Inaugural, the Texas State Society held a ``black tie and boots'' party at which the high point was Vice-President Bush being presented on stage with a live, snorting Texas longhorn. Mrs. Korth promises no Lone Star theme at this inauguration.