Potluck Inaugural For Ventura

Leave the black ties and ball gowns at home for Governor-elect Jesse Ventura's inaugural. But wear spandex and bring a hot dish to share. The celebrations include a workout and a potluck lunch in a barn.

"We did not want it to be a traditional, formal ball because we are not traditional, formal people," said Terry Ventura, the state's next first lady.

The former professional wrestler will be sworn in Jan. 4 in the state Capitol Rotunda, an invitation-only event because of seating limitations. But before and after that day, he is making a point of opening the celebration to all.

Mrs. Ventura called the two weeks of events the "Voice of the People. Jesse Inauguration '99."

Two days before his swearing-in, Ventura will release an eagle in Brooklyn Park, where he began his political career as mayor. Then he and his wife will attend a potluck lunch at a farm near Hastings, south of the Twin Cities. Supporters are encouraged to bring a hot dish, which is Minnesotan for casserole.

On Jan. 9, Ventura, a volunteer high school football conditioning coach, will lead exercises at a family fitness event in Blaine, a Minneapolis suburb.

In place of an inaugural ball, the couple will attend a party Jan. 15 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, home of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. Details such as ticket prices and bands were not complete, though Ventura has said he'd like a rock band and has floated the names of the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Jonny Lang.

Organizers declined to say what they expect the events will cost, although they are accepting donations from corporations and the public.