Once every four years, Texans in Washington gather for a Texas-sized celebration for the president’s inauguration in a night filled with cowboy hats, quesadillas, teased hair and boots of all styles, but the Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball will look very different this year.

In the past, the ball, hosted by the Texas State Society of Washington, has been a staple of the inaugural party season, with thousands of guests from Texas and beyond spending top-dollar to dine on Tex-Mex and hoe-down on the dance floor. Past guests have included President George W. Bush and University of Texas at Austin mascot Bevo.

“I love it because you see everybody from Texas,” former Dallas mayor and U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk said at the ball in 2013. “It’s as bipartisan as we get as a state. It’s all things Texas.”

But Black Tie & Boots is going virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it will be any less Texas-sized, said Ryan Thompson, chair of the event. The ball, dubbed “Bigger from Home,” shows you don’t have to be in a ballroom to party like a Texan.

“This is still Texans celebrating their heritage, culture and history in Washington, with an event that precedes the inauguration of the next president,” Thompson said.

The event kicks off the inaugural season on Tuesday, the night before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. It is designed to “look and sound and feel like Texas,” and it will feature performers who highlight the best of the Lone Star State.

North Texas radio personality Rock-T will serve as emcee from Texas Live! in Arlington, as attendees enjoy performances from Houston rapper Lacrae, San Antonio conjunto band Los Texmaniacs, Lubbock’s Josh Abbott Band and others.

“It’s important for us to celebrate our culture, our history, our heritage. But to make sure we celebrate all of it,” Thompson said. “...We’ve put together a group of talented people from every region of Texas and every cultural background. We think that it’s worth doing because we’re able to celebrate all the differences in Texans.”

Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, who served as the society’s president from 2018-19, said he looks forward to the ball, even though it looks different this year.

“I still look forward to joining this celebration that for years has served as an event to bring Texans together to celebrate the hard work that helped bring the incoming Administration into our nation’s highest office and also what we will accomplish going forward,” Veasey said in a statement.

Veasey is one of many members of the Texas congressional delegation who will serve as special guests, including Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Reps. Jodey Arrington of Lubbock, Michael Burgess of Pilot Point, Dan Crenshaw of Houston, Henry Cuellar of Laredo, August Pfluger of San Angelo, Pete Sessions of Waco, Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Roger Williams of Austin and Ron Wright of Arlington.

“Though I wish we were all going to be dancing the night away in our boots and bowties this year, I am honored to be able to participate in this year’s virtual event,” Van Duyne, a freshman Republican, said in a statement. “I want to thank my friend Jodey Arrington and the Texas State Society for putting together a great virtual event, and I look forward to all bootscooting in person with my fellow Texans soon. God Bless Texas!”

For the first time in the ball’s history, there will be a Sponsors Conference preceding the event, where members of the Texas delegation and other speakers, like former NFL player and Fox Sports analyst Emmanuel Acho, will give talks about issues the country is facing, such as the pandemic, race and the economy.

An in-person Black Tie & Boots anniversary gala is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 19, 2022, but this year’s virtual event is a great opportunity for Texans who haven’t had the chance to attend the Washington ball to experience it, Thompson said.

Tickets to the event are $300, but virtual-only tickets to the event are free to Texas State Society members. They can be purchased by the public at https://texasblacktieandboots.com/tickets/ .