Fallin food drive extended to inauguration day, 'firsts' celebrated
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Published: 04-Jan-2011

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 04-Jan-2011

A series of inaugural events are slated to honor “Oklahoma Firsts” as Mary Fallin prepares to become chief executive of the Sooner State next week. Fallin is sponsoring a statewide food drive to benefit Oklahomans. Late last week, the drive was extended through her inauguration day.

Inaugural activities are being promoted with the theme that these events are “built on a legacy of firsts that defined our past,” leading to “an inauguration that will define our future.”

Fallin will become Oklahoma’s 27th governor after nearly two decades of public service. Elected to the state House of Representatives in 1990, Fallin ran for lieutenant governor in 1994. After gaining the Republican nomination, she was elected as the first woman and first Republican in state history to hold the post.

In 2006, Lt. Gov. Fallin ran for the Fifth District Congressional seat. She ran first in a crowded primary that summer, then won a runoff for the nomination. She went on to a comfortable victory in the November election.

Fallin ran for governor this year, securing the Grand Old Party’s nod over state Sen. Randy Brogdon. She then defeated  Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, the Democratic nominee, in the November 2 election.  

Although Governor-elect Fallin’s “Feeding Oklahoma” food drive reached its official conclusion on New Year’s Eve (December 31), organizers extended the deadline for the worthy cause until the day of her inauguration, next Monday (January 10) at noon on the south side of the Oklahoma state Capitol.

Inaugural ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. will feature the formal oaths of office for the elected statewide officials beginning terms of office that day. For the first time in state history, the group is entirely Republican. Following the inauguration, a reception will be held in the state Capitol Rotunda, second floor.

That evening a black tie, formal dinner and ball is planned for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum on N.E. 63rd Street. The event has been sold out for weeks.

On the eve of her inauguration, Sunday January 9, at 4 p.m., a prayer service will be held at Crossings Community Church, 14600 N. Portland Avenue in Oklahoma City.

A pre-inaugural event for families has been scheduled for Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 N.E. 52nd Street in Oklahoma City, on Saturday, January 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Friday, January 7 at 7 p.m., a pre-inaugural ball (black tie or semi-formal) is slated for The Marland Mansion Estate, 901 Monument Road in Ponca City. On Saturday evening, January 8 at 7 p.m., a pre-inaugural ball will be held at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. This event, like the gala in Oklahoma City, is Black Tie.

Oklahomans looking to donate food have until January 10 to take their non-perishable goods to Oklahoma Farm Bureau locations around the state.  Last week, the Farm Bureau became an official partner of “Feeding Oklahoma,” adding a total of 77 new drop-off locations for the drive.

Donations will be accepted at those locations until the day Fallin is sworn in. Other drop-off locations, including those at Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores and BancFirst branches ceased operations on December 31, as previously planned.

According to organizers of the effort, the most needed food donations are canned meats, meat-based soups, canned fruits, canned vegetables, peanut butter, rice and beans.

Donations can be made online at www.feedoklahoma.org, or by texting “OK” to 27722. Organizers say each text will trigger an automatic $10 donation, and that standard text message rates will apply.

Those who want more information about inaugural activities (most events  requiring ticketing) can visit www.maryfallininaugural.org. Governor-elect Fallin’s Inaugural Committee Office can be reached at (405) 778-8900, via email at info@maryfallininaugural.org, or by writing to 4308 North Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK, 73118.

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