NAPLES — The ballots were counted months ago, but the numbers keep rolling in: Nearly $3 million raised; 74 parade participants and one inaugural ball.
Naples resident and Florida Gov.-elect Rick Scott will be sworn-in as the state’s 45th governor at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Tallahassee. The ceremony is one of a dozen events planned Monday and Tuesday to mark the inauguration.
Scott had raised more than $2.82 million as of Dec. 27 for events – ranging from a youth concert on Jan. 3 to the inaugural ball on Jan. 4 – according to recent contribution reports. That sum surpasses the estimated $2.5 million that Gov. Charlie Crist raised in 2006 for his inauguration.
Crist at the time came under fire for the amount of money he raised for the event, and ultimately decided to scale back costs to under $1 million.
So what does nearly $3 million get Floridians hoping to celebrate the inauguration of the state’s newest governor?
“It’s going to be a big, crazy blowout,” said Frank Torres, an Orlando-based public affairs consultant. “They’re going to have the prayer breakfast, a leadership luncheon, country music concerts and the parade, as well as the inaugural ball.”
Bettina Inclan, a spokeswoman for the Scott inaugural, said there are “no hard numbers on how many people have been invited” to the dozen events.
While several of the events over the next two days are free and open to the public, the bulk of Monday’s events require tickets. Those events include a luncheon honoring Ann Scott, the state’s newest first lady, and a candlelight dinner for donors to the inaugural.
The Daily News will have staff covering the Rick Scott inauguration. Watch naplesnews.com and pick up the Daily News for our reports from Tallahassee.
An event honoring members of the military is free and open to military families, and a youth concert Monday night to Florida youth.
Most of Tuesday’s inaugural events are free and open to the public. Three events Tuesday – the prayer breakfast, a leadership luncheon and the inaugural ball – require tickets.
The parade, scheduled to take place from 2:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Monroe Street in Tallahassee, is one of the most talked about events of the inauguration, at least in Collier County. The parade features 74 participants, including 22 high school marching bands.
Five Collier County high school bands – Naples, Barron Collier, Palmetto Ridge, Immokalee and Golden Gate – will make the trek to Tallahassee to perform. The school district has said it set aside $100,000 for all five bands to attend. The per student breakdown, district spokesman Joe Landon said recently, is about $130 per student.
According to those figures, about 770 Collier band members can attend the parade.
“I know they’re really excited about getting up there and doing a good job representing where we come from,” Immokalee High School band director Brandon Milhoan said.
Floridians also will be able to experience an inaugural tradition they may not have seen since the beginning of the decade: An inaugural ball.
Tickets to the ball cost $95, and Francis Rooney, former United States ambassador to the Vatican and chairman of the inaugural committee, said the tickets are “priced as economically as possible to cast the widest net to make this truly a celebration for as many Floridians who are willing to participate in it.”
Inclan said tickets for the ball, and the prayer breakfast Tuesday morning, are still available, and interested residents need to visit www.scottcarrollinaugural.com to purchase tickets.
Any money left over once all the inaugural bills are paid will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs for wounded service members from recent global conflicts.
__ Staff writer Ryan Mills contributed to this report.