Dozens of sponsors donate for Hogan's inaugural gala

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Tickets for Gov. Larry Hogan's inaugural gala in Baltimore on Wednesday night cost $100, but dozens of local and national groups and companies paid far more to sponsor the festivities.

The Republican governor's inauguration night party at the Baltimore Convention Center featured elaborate decorations and a 17-piece band.


The event program listed seven "Gold" and 27 "Silver" sponsors. Although exact costs for each sponsorship were not provided, two of the organizations said their Silver sponsorships cost $25,000. Several said they have sponsored such galas for previous governors.

The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment on the cost of the event or the sponsorships.


The event's Gold sponsors were Allegis Group, Associated Builders and Contractors, AstraZeneca, CHOICE, Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, Sagamore Development Co. and the Washington Redskins.

MedStar Health, one of the sponsors that paid $25,000, said it hopes to be "in dialogue with the new governor as he takes office regarding issues affecting all Marylanders."

"We feel it is very important for the governor to have an understanding of opportunities and challenges facing health care today," a MedStar spokeswoman said in a statement. "We have donated to other inaugurations and similar events."

A spokesman for the Ravens, among the Silver sponsors, declined to comment on the team's gift but said it had donated to previous inaugurations.

The event's other Silver sponsors were tobacco company Altria, BB&T, the University of Maryland, Comcast, Verizon, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, EY, First Energy, the Harrison Group Hotels and Restaurants, Klein's ShopRites of Maryland, Mary and Kingdon Gould, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, the Maryland Association of Realtors, McCormick & Co., MGM Casinos, the Maryland Hospital Association, Miles & Stockbridge, Miller & Long, NMS Healthcare, State Farm, St. John Properties, United Healthcare, and W.R. Grace and Co.

The state's last Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich, held a weeklong, $1 million inaugural extravaganza in 2002 to celebrate what was then the GOP's first administration since Spiro Agnew in 1967. The weekend celebrations included several concerts, leading Ehrlich to joke it would be like "a Grateful Dead show, except with Republicans."

Guitar in hand, Gov. Martin O'Malley personally entertained the 8,000 people at his 2007 gala at the convention center with his Celtic rock band, O'Malley's March.

The affairs haven't always been big, expensive events. Gov. William Donald Schaefer's 1987 inaugural celebration was a simple affair with a 10-minute speech and a few patriotic songs.


Gov. Parris Glendening brought back the traditional black-tie inaugural ball in 1995 after the state went 12 years without one. The party in Upper Marlboro drew 3,000 Marylanders.

But Glendening's inaugural ball was nothing compared to the spectacle Agnew put on at the 5th Regiment Armory, decking it out in gold and white, with crystal chandeliers, palm trees, red carpets and a fake ceiling. State dignitaries wore morning coats and top hats, and some 5,000 attendees danced to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Viennese waltzes and selections from "My Fair Lady."