California Gridiron Gala: Funniest political show in town!

By Mary Beth Barber

This December marks the end of so many things – the finalization of a busy political calendar, the end of the first decade of the new millennium, and the closing of possibly California’s most notorious Governor’s administration. Arnold Schwarzenegger will soon hang up his veto pen and possibly pick up his Conan sword or Terminator/Predator/Kindergarten Cop weapon of choice. 2010 isn’t ending with a whimper, but with a bang … specifically the Sacramento Press Club’s “Gridiron” dinner: an evening of political satire, spoofs and skits by California politicians, pundits and the press.

The Sacramento version of the Gridiron dinner and evening of entertainment is modeled after the famous Gridiron dinner in Washington DC.

Sacramento’s will feature a cocktail reception, dinner and keynote address from outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. But don’t expect the Governator to hog too much of the spotlight – the bulk of the evening’s entertainment consists of satirical skits written by working journalists and performed by both media professionals and well-known politicians.

On the program with Arnold: noted political satirist and event emcee Will Durst. Others who have confirmed to be a part of the California Gridiron (either on stage or behind the scenes) include Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, former President Pro Tem John Burton, former Republican leader Jim Brulte, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson … with more joining every day.

The Gridiron gala and dinner is a first for the Sacramento Press Club, and serves to support the nonprofit’s journalism scholarship program and highlight the importance of a strong, working media in the capital of the nation’s largest and potentially most influential state. “This is easily the biggest event in our 49-year history,” said Rich Eisen, Sacramento Press Club president.

While the most immediate impact of the Gridiron will be a whole lot of fun and laughter, Eisen emphasized the importance of the Sacramento Press Club’s main mission: supporting the future of journalism. “Over the years we have provided over $150,000 in journalism scholarships to more than 100 worthy journalism students across California,” he said. “We’re extremely proud of that.”

The Sacramento Gridiron takes place at the Sacramento Convention Center on Wednesday, December 1, with cocktails starting at 6:30 p.m. and dinner beginning around 7:00 p.m. All tickets must be purchased in advance and the event is getting closer to selling out. The Sacramento Press Club just extended the deadline to November 24, but the venue is filling up fast, so order soon.

Information and tickets ordering info can be found on the Sacramento Press Club website at www.sacpressclub.org. Individual tickets for the dinner and entertainment are $125 for members and $200 for nonmembers – so if you’re not a member yet, join for $40 (working press) or $50 (general membership) and save some off the individual ticket price.

NOTE: Mary Beth Barber is a board member of the Sacramento Press Club and desperately misses her days in journalism.

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