The parade--considerably shorter than in previous years--ended about two hours after it started, giving the 30,000 people privileged with invitations to the five Inaugural balls ample time to get ready.
Five balls were held that night. President Nixon danced at all five.
The Youth Ball took place in the same Sheraton Commander Hotel ballroom where the Democratic Credentials Committee had hassled several months earlier over Mayor Daly and California delegates.
It was a senior prom writ large. Dress was formal, the music was hard rock and soul, long hair was common. Hordes of Nixon youth crowded onto the dance floor beneath psychedelic lights and cheered for their President every once and a while. A few lonely folk roamed around looking for other lonely folk, but most had come with friends. Senator John Tower (R-Texas) signed autographs and accepted good words from young GOPers in the lobby.
The Hall of Flags at the Kennedy Center was decorated in white, yellow and green for the main ball. Among the orchestras were Lionel Hampton's and Guy Lombardo's, two of the President's favorites.
Like the Youth Ball, the Kennedy Center was jammed. "I love to dance, but there's no room," said one lady. "I'd done better if I'd stayed home than to come out here for this B.S.," said an official from the Laborer's International Union. "The worst goddamn mess I've ever seen in my life."
Most appeared to be happy, though, as they walked out with assorted souvenir'., including stacks of plastic cups embossed--with the Inaugural seal.
Marge Crerie of Fairfax, Va, got even more. "I danced with the President," she said. "I kissed him on the cheek and left a big lipstick mark. I kissed Pat Nixon, too, and told them both I love them.