After being sworn in for a second term in office, Governor Jack Markell and Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn celebrated with a formal Inaugural Ball.
The event, held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, has been a four-year work in progress after the governor cancelled the 2009 Inaugural Ball due to the country’s recession and the state’s budget deficit of $800 million.
Gov. Markell said that while the state has many hurdles it still needs to clear, many businesses and citizens are in better shape than they were at the beginning of his first term.
“I think we’re certainly doing better then we were four years ago,” said Markell. “Four years ago at this time we were dealing with an $800 million budget shortfall, but we’re certainly not out of the woods. We’ve got a lot of work to do, we’ve got a lot of people doing that work. We wake up every single day focused relentlessly on how we can put more people back to work in the state and how we can make sure our kids have the brightest possible future and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on.”
Rather than a formal sit down dinner, the Governor chose to bring in dozens of local restaurants, wineries and breweries to showcase some of Delaware’s best dining. Nearly 2,000 guests sampled food and beverages from all over the state.
“We have so many great restaurants in the state, we also have William Penn High School and the Food Bank of Delaware out there and we’re really grateful for them turning out,” he said. “We wanted to celebrate so many of the great folks in Delaware who feed us and give us great things to drink.”
Claus Hagelman of 16 Mile Brewery was one of the local businesses serving guests throughout the evening. The small business was established three years ago and is thriving in the state.
“We’re also celebrating that we’re coming off of a year where we’ve seen 160 percent growth, and the state is becoming well-known for great beers coming out of it,” said Hagelman. “We take great pride coming here and showcasing among the other great brewers here.”
Hagelman added that the brewery supports many different causes.
“We have a series of beers called Calibration Brew for a Good Cause where we raise money for local charities with our beer,” he said. “One of our beers called Response Ale, which raises money for the National Fallen firefighter’s Foundation.”
The event’s theme was “Celebrating Volunteerism in our State” and coincides with the Governor and First Lady Carla Markell’s annual Week of Service.
On Wednesday, the Markells will participate in a food drive at the Williams State Service Center.