Thousands gather in Baltimore to celebrate Gov. Wes Moore’s historic win

Published on: January 18, 2023 10:10 PM EST|Updated on: January 19, 2023 12:04 PM EST

Gov. Wes Moore, second from left, kisses his wife, Dawn, as their son, James, 11, waves during MooreÕs inaugural ball, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Baltimore.
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Richard and Vanessa Deutschmann were eager to come to the Baltimore Convention Center Wednesday night to relish the historic day for Gov. Wes Moore, who they believe cares deeply for Charm City.

“Baltimore is an amazing city that has been historically left out of politics, I’m excited to see that change,” Richard Deutschmann said.

The Deutschmanns, Columbia residents, were among the more than 11,000 people who were expected to gather Wednesday at the convention center for an evening of drinking, dancing and mingling while celebrating Moore, the first Black governor of Maryland.

For Deutschmann, who said he campaigned hard for the candidate, it was easy to support Moore.

“I’ve met him several times and every time it’s like he’s only talking to you and I can feel his authenticity,” he said while wearing a light blue suit and standing at a high top cocktail table.

Vanessa, who wore a boat neck, floor length powder blue gown with silver embellishments on top, added, that Richard “wore out the leather in his shoes, knocking on doors.”

Moore was the main attraction and took the stage to the song “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest as the crowd erupted with applause. He wore a classic black tuxedo created by designer and Prince George’s County native Miguel Wilson, and delivered an impassioned speech about the importance of working on behalf of all Marylanders — even the ones who did not vote for him.

“Tonight, celebrate this great state,” Moore told the crowd. “Celebrate your neighbors. We are Maryland because of each other not in spite of.”

For the first dance, the Moores had dancers from the Morton Street Dance Center introduce them with a ballet performance featuring children of all ages.

Curtis Mayfield’s “The Makings of You” swelled as the Moores took the stage.

First lady Dawn Flythe Moore wore a powder pink gown designed by Annapolis native and “Project Runway” star Christian Siriano. The dress shone as the Moores embraced closely.

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As an ending, their daughter, Mia, who was dancing with the Morton Street dancers, gave a ballet bow and embraced both of her parents. Her father lifted her off the ground with his hug.

The event also attracted its fair share of celebrities — a reflection of Moore’s political star power — including national household names and notables based in Baltimore. That included actors Chris Tucker and Utkarsh Ambudkar, but no sign of Oprah Winfrey, who introduced Wes Moore at his inauguration ceremony.

And the fashion was on full display. The convention center was flush with a sea of tuxedos, women dripping with sequin-covered gowns, an array of metallic frocks and other red carpet-worthy looks. Leading the charge was the first lady.

Moore’s first dress — a strapless mermaid gown in black jacquard with a pastel garden trim by designer Alex Teih — was from Francesca’s Atelier Baltimore County boutique.

Jason Bass — the director of culture and impact at Hotel Revival, who is known for his distinct sense of style — wore an all-black natural cotton pant and overshirt with a knitted camp shirt and black Camper boots.

“In every interaction I’ve had with Wes he’s been authentically himself, genuinely engaging, and grounded in community,” said Bass, who also runs the Night Brunch party series. “I have a newfound hope in our state and I’m confident he will support Baltimore in a way we’ve never seen from Annapolis.”

The night featured music acts by entertainers such as Grammy Award-winner Maxwell and R&B singer-songwriter Raheem DeVaughn.

DJ Quicksilva from Baltimore’s 92Q opened the night by playing cookout jams such as “Return of The Mack,” and a remix of the original “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze and a recent Beyoncé remix.

“This is not like any other inaugural ball, I promise you!” he said repeatedly.

The music resonated with attendees who grooved and sang along, with some bursting into full-on dance.

“We love this, we are children of the ’90s, you know!” said Lisa Murdock from Montgomery County. She and her husband came to the event to support Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller from their home county. “We’re waiting for the governor to come out and show us his moves before we really get dancing,” Murdock said.

Food for the event featured teriyaki shrimp skewers, fried chicken biscuit sandwiches and egg rolls. The heavy hors d’oeuvres circulated to dancing attendees who slurped up the skewers, but attempts to delicately eat the hefty chicken sandwiches proved difficult, according to a couple of attendees.

“I liked the shrimp, it had a little heat but that was nice, a lot of great food here,” Richard Deutschmann said.

The cavernous, dimly-lit hall was draped with royal blue and anchored by a large stage with several large screens as its backdrop. Various neon blue-hued bars were sprinkled throughout the party.

Brittny Bagley, who owns the Baltimore-based B.Luxe Event Rentals, was hired by the first lady to style the VIP rooms for the governor, lieutenant governor and the Morton Street Dance Center.

Bagley used black and gold décor for the governor’s room to give the space a “bold yet luxurious aesthetic,” she said, adding that the colors are the same as Moore’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.

“We added in pops of white in the floor wrap, custom pillows and gorgeous floral arrangements for a clean, crisp finish,” she said. “I am so proud to be a part of history and helping to usher in Maryland’s first Black governor.”

Attendee Orlett Torrents proudly touted that she spent $40 a few months ago on her floor-length, off-the shoulder orange sequin dress.

“I got it online, but don’t give away my secrets,” she said, adding that when she picked out the look she prioritized the vibrant orange color, which complimented her skin tone. She chose the silhouette so “the pizazz is up top for the pictures.”

Heidi Klotzman, CEO of regional music and event promotion company HeidnSeek Entertainment, said she came to the ball to celebrate the historic win for the Moores and Millers.

“I’m excited for what they bring to Maryland’s leadership. They represent a vision of unity, inclusion, and common human kindness, which is no longer so common,” said Klotzman, who wore a black and beaded halter gown. “It feels hopeful to see a strong, smart, talented, empathic, and dedicated man of service lead us.”

A photo caption was updated to correct the age of James Moore.

Baltimore Banner reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.