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Inaugural ball to raise funds for charity

Mayor Byron W. Brown and an estimated 2,000 friends will don tuxedos and gowns next Saturday to celebrate what he calls a "new vision" for a "new Buffalo."

Brown's first Inaugural Ball also is expected to raise about $100,000 for a new charity. Mayor Brown's Fund to Advance Buffalo will promote youth programs, summer jobs for young people and other efforts, Brown said Tuesday.

Diversity will be watchword in both cuisine and entertainment for the Feb. 25 event. Performers throughout the public areas of the Hyatt Regency Buffalo will treat those attending to salsa, Caribbean, big band, swing and funk music. Other highlighted acts will include jazz artists and students from the Buffalo Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts.

About 20 restaurants will participate, ranging from some of the area's most popular pizza joints to several posh eating establishments.

Brown also promises a few surprises. Every detail, he said, is being planned meticulously, down to the decorations and "mementos" for guests.

"We're going to have some unique elements that will be integrating our vision for the future," Brown said.

Individuals who attend the black tie event will pay $100, while couples will pay $175.

Does Brown have any concerns that the ticket prices might prevent some people from attending the ball?

He noted he held a free public event Dec. 31 when 2,000 people came to the Convention Center to witness his swearing in. After the inauguration, Brown and his family held a free City Hall reception where they spent about three hours personally greeting more than 1,000 people.

Tickets to inaugural balls staged by former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello cost $75, noted Peter K. Cutler, who is Brown's communications chief and played a similar role in Masiello's administration. Cutler said that, considering inflation over the past 12 years, the $100 tickets are in line.

People wishing to attend should send checks payable to Mayor Brown's Fund to Advance Buffalo to P.O. Box 841, Buffalo, NY 14201. Checks will also be accepted at the door. Additional information can be obtained by calling 851-4866.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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