As the Raleigh area faces a winter storm warning for the weekend, Gov. Roy Cooper has canceled his inauguration festivities set for Saturday and Sunday.
Instead, Cooper and members of the Council of State will take their oaths of office at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon at the governor’s mansion, although for some these will be ceremonial because they have already been sworn in.
Cooper will still give his inaugural address on TV at 10:30 a.m. Saturday from the governor’s mansion, but it won’t be open to the public.
“The Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has postponed the inaugural events on Saturday and Sunday after consultation with North Carolina Emergency Management,” organizers said in a news release Thursday.
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The news release did not say if the events will be rescheduled.
The Inaugural Ball on Saturday night, organized separately by the Junior League of Raleigh, has been moved up to Friday night.
“Due to the inclement weather and the impending winter storms and keeping the safety of our fellow North Carolinians in mind we are rescheduling Saturday night’s planned activities to this evening,” the Junior League posted on its website. “We are honoring ball tickets from Saturday tonight in a reception at Marbles Museum starting at 6 p.m. Entrance is first come first served basis. Black-tie optional.”
The Junior League will not refund ticket purchases for people who aren’t able to attend the event Friday night. That policy is prompting gripes on social media from some of those who paid $160 and won’t be attending. The National Weather Service is forecasting sleet to begin Friday evening in the Raleigh area and is urging drivers to “stay off the roads tonight.”
The Junior League is a nonprofit organization and likely wouldn’t be able to get refunds from the vendors contracted to put on the ball.
“Similar to many large-scale events, expenses have already been incurred,” Junior League spokeswoman Elizabeth Hamner said. “We are excited to host guests at tonight’s events and hope you will be able to join us.”
Inaugural ceremony organizers had previously canceled Saturday’s inaugural parade and moved other events indoors to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. But weather forecasters say the snow expected this weekend will make it dangerous to travel.