Wed
Jan 21 2009
03:00:pm

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More than 400 celebrants braved the cold to attend last night's Obama Inauguration Ball hosted by the Blount County Democratic Party. I don't believe I have ever seen that many Democrats and supporters in one place in Blount County, and they were a good looking bunch.

The event quickly sold out weeks ago, and the ballroom was at full capacity with party goers decked out in their evening finest. There was great music, lots of food, a busy cash bar, and inspirational speeches. I have also never seen a more diverse crowd at any Blount Co. Democratic function, and hope we see more of that in the future.

Some scuttlebutt we heard included news that Republican Blount Co. Mayor Jerry Cunningham would not run for reelection and that Dave "Mini Me" Bennett would step up to the plate in 2010. (Neither Dave nor Jerry were in attendance at last night's event.) We also heard about a new Democratic candidate for County Commission, more on that when there's a formal announcement.

We ran into Rikki Hall and Cathie Golden, owner of the Waste Not Want Not thrift store in Maryville and also a supporter of the Foothills Land Conservancy. We talked a bit with Mike Meares, who is still healing from the media hatchet job he suffered at the hands of the Blount GOP. Judge Kelly Thomas was there, as were County Commissioners Dr. Bob Proffitt and Wendy Pitts Reeves and recently elected Louisville Town Alderman Joe Gallagher.

Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook, a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King who was there in Memphis with him on that fateful day, gave a stirring keynote address. He told Blount Co. Democrats to get busy, noting that out of 21 County Commissioners there were only three Democrats and no African-Americans. He got the crowd going with an electrifying tribute to President Barack Obama, who proved "Yes We Can."

Following are some photos...

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MC and Blount Co. Democratic Chair Dave Finch

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Ronald Coffin prepares to give the invocation

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The Inaugural Ball Committee (in no particular order, sorry if we got any of the names wrong): Judy Carter, Glena Coffin, Linda Kente, Tonya Martin, Mannie Poerter, Katrina Robinson, with Ronnie Astor at the podium.

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Wendy Pitts Reeves gets the crowd fired up for the keynote speaker

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Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook says he never believed he would live to see what happened on Nov. 4 2008.

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"It's a new day and there is a new sheriff in the White House."

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"You can kill the dreamer but you can't kill the dream."

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Coolest outfit award goes to Gordon Irwin.

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Dancing Democrats...

View a full-size slideshow here...

It was a great evening! We

It was a great evening!

We missed you Mello.

The gentleman in a kilt

The gentleman in the kilt is Gordon Irwin.

Yes, now I remember (I could

Yes, that was it (I could barely hear over the band). Thanks!

Wendy Pitts-Reeves gave a

Wendy Pitts-Reeves gave a great speech, but it's a good thing she was warming up for Rev. Middlebrooks and not following him. Wow.

The female singer with the

The female singer with the band did a beautiful rendition of America the Beautiful.

That was nice

Everyone in the room wound up singing along, even me. What a night.

That was a great band, too.

That was a great band, too. Who are they?

(I wish I had picked up a program to get all these names etc. right.)

Doublecheck this, but I think...

I think it was SOUL CONNECTION and KELLE JOLLY.

The Band

The band was Kelle Jolly and Soul Connection. They are also in line for an appearance at the Knoxville Museum of Art I believe. I was also very impressed with them. Excellent job gang!

Do tell...

"Some scuttlebutt we heard included news that Republican Blount Co. Mayor Jerry Cunningham would not run for reelection and that Dave "Mini Me" Bennett would step up to the plate in 2010. (Neither Dave nor Jerry were in attendance at last night's event.) We also heard about a new Democratic candidate for County Commission, more on that when there's a formal announcement."

If not a name how about a district?

2010 a Blount County Odyssey

I'd pondered the ascension of El Twinko, but I'm intrigued with the identity of the Lefty.

viva Evo Morales

why would you expect

why would you expect cunningham or bennett to goto this party? none of there values or views are anywhere close to that of the democratic party.

I'm assuming they are Americans

It was a celebration of our fabulous Representative Republic, and thus a very patriotic event.

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