CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It won t take North Carolina s next governor long to break from tradition.
Gov.-elect Pat McCrory plans two weekends of inaugural events next month bookending a week of public appearances across the state.
That includes one in Charlotte s government center, the building where he presided as mayor for 14 years.
The idea is you want to bring the governor to the people and get everyone engaged in his beginning ... a new day in North Carolina state government, said John Lassiter, a former Charlotte City Council member who chairs McCrory s transition steering committee.
McCrory will become the state s first Republican governor in 28 years on Jan. 5. That s when he ll be sworn in at a modest event in the Capitol s old Senate chamber. A bigger ceremony, along with the traditional inaugural parade, will take place a week later.
Aides say the early swearing-in will allow McCrory to be in office when the new General Assembly convenes on Jan. 9.
We wanted to make sure he was sworn in and ready to serve, said spokesman Chris Walker.
The gala ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12. The night before, Raleigh s Junior League will hold its traditional inaugural ball with entertainment by the Grammy-nominated Avett Brothers.
On Jan. 12, the newly formed Foundation for North Carolina will hold an event at the Raleigh Convention Center. The nonprofit group has attracted attention, and controversy, because organizers have not disclosed who s behind it.
The General Assembly has set aside $250,000 for the inaugural festivities, the same amount it did for earlier governors. Lassiter said McCrory s team will keep its spending under control.
We won t use it all, he said. We re Republicans.
Ticket packages to the Junior League ball run from $125 to $1,200. Tickets to the Foundation event, which will feature The Chairmen of the Board and The Blue Dogs, start at $75.
It s unclear how many people will attend the festivities. In 2009, about 3,000 watched Democrat Bev Perdue become the state s first female governor.
There will be a wide variety of things going on that don t cost anything, Lassiter said, just an opportunity to be involved.
During the week between ceremonies, McCrory will travel to Asheville, Charlotte, New Bern and an as yet unannounced stop in the Piedmont.