Four years ago, Mike Carrington took pictures of George W. Bush dancing with the first lady at the inaugural ball in Washington, D.C. This year he hopes to do the same.
The local banker and Thomson City Councilman served as the McDuffie County coordinator for the Bush-Cheney campaign during the past two presidential elections. For his services, he and his wife Donna were invited to attend the inauguration which takes place today.
Mike Carrington shows his invitation to the inauguration.
Mr. Carrington said both inaugurations are experiences he won't likely forget.
"It's one of those things you sit there and go 'Is it worth spending $1,500 to go to something like this?' But after you go, you're like 'Man I was part of history,'" he said.
And so were 100,000 other people gathered on the national mall area in 2000. Mr. Carrington said so many people came to the inauguration that large screens and speakers were set up all along the distance between the Capital and the Washington Monument.
"You can see, even if you're a mile away, what's going on," Mr. Carrington said.
That afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Carrington skipped the parade so that they could get ready to attend one of the nine inaugural balls. So many people are invited that no one building can hold them. The president and vice president make the rounds to each party.
Mr. Carrington expects the events this time to be very similar to 2000, but he said he will enjoy the dancing and live music along with the other 5,000 people in the room while waiting on the president to arrive.
"We weren't bad last time. We were 35 to 40 feet away from him," he said. "So we got a decent picture."
The Carringtons had such a good time four years ago that Mr. Carrington was pulled on stage and sang with the band. He said he's not planning to do the same this time, but who knows.
And when the inauguration is over, the hobnobbing doesn't end for Mr. Carrington. He will head straight to the Georgia Municipal Association conference in Atlanta where he is second vice president. There he will attend a meal with Governor Sonny Purdue and a cocktail party with senators and congressmen.
"It's going to be a fun few days, but I guess I'll have to come back to the real world broke and have to go to work Tuesday," he said.