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The theme for Gov. Pete Ricketts' and First Lady Susanne Shore's Jan. 12 inaugural ball will be a simple one: "A Celebration." 

"We're going to be celebrating not only the election of the governor and others, but also all Nebraskans across the state," Shore said. "This is another moment to be able to celebrate what makes Nebraska a great state."

Nebraskans, consider yourself invited, Ricketts and Shore said Tuesday at a news conference at Pinnacle Bank Arena, where the ball will be held. It's the same venue as four years ago, when Ricketts was sworn in as Nebraska's 40th governor. He was re-elected to serve another four-year term in November.  

"I want everyone to come here and feel welcome and feel like they walk away with an enjoyable, positive memory of being here," Shore said. 

About 2,500 to 2,800 people are expected. 

Official invitations will be appearing in mailboxes this week, Shore said. But it's open to everyone who wants to come. Black tie optional. The governor plans to wear a tuxedo, he said. 

Women may wear a formal evening gown, but a cocktail dress or dressy separates would be appropriate. Shore is still considering her dress, she said.

For this event, no clear bags will be required to get into the arena. 

A website,, is up and running with information on purchasing the $75 tickets, getting special hotel rates and with answers to frequently asked questions. A $25 ticket will be offered for dessert, the grand march and the dance. 

The grand march will feature newly elected or re-elected officials.  

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the grand march at 8 p.m. Dessert and a dance will follow. 

Four Haymarket area hotels — the Courtyard Marriott, Graduate, Hilton Garden Inn and Hyatt Place — will offer special rates. 

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Colors for the ball will be gold and silver, with high-end decorations to make it feel special for those attending, Shore said. The planners are in negotiations with a "party band," but no word yet on which band will play at the ball. 

Performers will also be there to offer their rendition of what makes Nebraska great. 

"We're still ironing out so many details on the menu, and everything else," Shore said. 

But "there will be beef," she added. "I promise there will be beef." 

The ball will be paid for with ticket prices and private donors, Ricketts said. So far, those donors include the Ricketts family and Aflac insurance. 

Ricketts said the ball will kick off the next four years of his term. 

"I'm very proud over the last four years of what our team has been able to accomplish," Ricketts said, "focusing on connecting Nebraskans to great paying job opportunities, making sure that we're cutting the regulatory red tape, and running government more like a business so that it's more customer-oriented and that we're easier to do business with." 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.


State government reporter

JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

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