02/05/2001 at 01:00 AM EST
Outside, freezing rain and gridlocked limos caused havoc with the D.C. traffic. But not even scattered protests could dampen revelers' spirits at last week's Inauguration festivities. "If you're a Republican, you don't need sunshine to have a great inaugural," Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Richard Cheney, told partygoers at Jan. 20's Florida ball, one of the nine official bashes that, along with scores of unsanctioned celebrations, turned the capital into Party Central. "Tonight is, shall we say, Big Time!"
With so many visitors from the Lone Star State, how could it have been anything but? Even before George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States, it was clear that the Texans had taken the town. At the Jan. 19 Black Tie & Boots Ball, party faithful, including singers Naomi Judd and Lee Ann Womack–resplendent in de rigueur ballgowns and cowboy boots–chowed down on 3,500 lbs. of beef brisket. "We're gonna see spangles and glitter," Dixie Carter, star of CBS's Family Law, forecast for the next four years. "I love these Texas girls!"
Sure enough, flashy colors and sequined frocks–many trimmed with fur–ruled the 200 balls, compared with the subdued hues at President Clinton's 1997 festivities. The First Lady wowed fashion critics in a red lace gown by Dallas designer Michael Faircloth. And with all the sparkle, no one seemed to miss the Tinseltown crowd that had peppered so many Democratic events. "I have a lot of friends in Hollywood who are really [peeved at] me right now," Republican supporter Kelsey Grammer told attendees at the Texas-Wyoming ball.
The freshly minted President stopped by every one of the official dos and, despite his famous two left feet, even cut a rug at a few–for up to 56 seconds! At 11:40 p.m. he retired to his new home, almost two hours past his usual 10 o'clock bedtime. Quipped the Commander in Chief: "I was exhausted from dancing so much."