Haley sets plans for inauguration

Governor-elect Nikki Haley

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's next first family will kick off their official introduction to the state with a Family Fun Night at the State Fairgrounds.

Gov.-elect Nikki Haley, her husband, Michael, the couple's daughter Rena, 12, and son Nalin, 9, ask the families who will join them Jan. 11, the eve of the inauguration, to bring a new children's book or school supplies to be donated to local charities.

Haley's team hasn't released all the details for the Family Fun Night, but the event is set to run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults. Kids younger than 18 are free.

"The goal was to set an itinerary of events that South Carolinians from any walk of life can and will be a part of," Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said.

Haley will be sworn in as the state's 116th governor at an 11 a.m. ceremony Jan. 12 on the Statehouse steps. Her inauguration schedule also includes a 9 a.m. prayer service and an open house at the Governor's Mansion from 2 to 4 p.m.

The events will cap off with an Inaugural Gala beginning at 7:30 p.m. The gala is $250 per couple.

A committee is raising cash from the private sector to put on the events.

Haley's inaugural plans aren't much of a divergence from that of outgoing Gov. Mark Sanford.

Sanford was sworn in for his second four-year term Jan. 10, 2007, on the Statehouse steps. The inauguration was a pomp ceremony that included a flyover of four jets and procession of lawmakers, judges and former governors.

The Sanfords hosted hundreds of state residents and friends at the South Carolina Farmers Market Watermelon Shed for a barbecue that cost about $60 per family.

The governor also attended a black-tie gala hosted by the state Republican Party, a posh event he skipped on his first inauguration. Back in 2003, he said such a showing wasn't proper when the state faced lean budget times.

Former state GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, who is co-chairing Haley's inaugural committee, told The Associated Press that no budget has been set for the inaugural events, although he expects the affairs to cost a combined $600,000 or more.

Dawson said the gala is appropriate, especially given the election victories Republicans have to celebrate.

"That's what the governor-elect chose," Dawson told the AP.

In addition to Haley, the state's eight other constitutional officers will also be sworn in on Jan. 12. They are Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, Secretary of State Mark Hammond, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Adjutant General Bob Livingston, Superintendent of Education Mick Zais and Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. All are Republicans.

If you go

Gov.-elect Nikki Haley has invited the public to several events to celebrate her inauguration on Jan. 12 as South Carolina's first female and minority governor. She launched the website www.2011Inaugural.sc.gov where the public can get information and purchase tickets. All events are in Columbia.

Here are the scheduled events:

Jan. 11

Family Fun Night, 5:30-8 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive. Ticket are $20 per adult. Children younger than 18 are free.

Jan. 12

Prayer service, 9 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1100 Sumter St., open to the public

Inaugural ceremony, 11 a.m. on the Statehouse steps, 1105 Pendleton St., open to the public

First family open house, 2-4 p.m. at the Governor's Mansion, 800 Richland St., open to the public

Inaugural Gala, 7:30-11 p.m. at the Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln St. Ticket are $250 per couple

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855.