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PHOTOS: The 2019 Kennedy Center Honors Celebration

PHOTOS: The 2019 Kennedy Center Honors Celebration
Sesame Street muppets Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Cookie Monster walk the red carpet at the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors gala.
Dan About Town

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Party photographer Dan Swartz’s diary of bashes, benefits, and galas.

Now in its 42nd year, the annual Kennedy Center Honors Celebration drew a colossal amount of celebrity support from stage and screen alike on Sunday evening.

More than two thousand guests filled the marble walls of the iconic building on Sunday night, joined by some 400 additional staff members tasked with ensuring that such a high profile event went off without a hitch.

Yesterday’s gala, the stage program of which will air on CBS on Sunday, December 15, actually represents the culmination of a series of Honors-related events over the weekend.

An exclusive welcome luncheon on the Kennedy Center’s terrace level kicked-off the festivities on Saturday, followed by the presentation of the actual Honors medallions later that evening at a dinner hosted by the State Department.

The 2019 Honorees are Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

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Guests spill into the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center, from the Opera House, as the celebration’s dinner and after party ramps up.
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2019 Honorees Earth, Wind & Fire’s original band members Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, and Philip Bailey.
2019 kennedy center honors
Sesame Street co-founder Lloyd Morrisett (center) is flanked by muppets Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster.
2019 kennedy center honors
Muppets Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster give Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney a hug on the red carpet.
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The Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center was filled with tables and floral arrangements for the evening, with the ceiling bathed in a colorful pink hue.
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Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter and Peter Ellefson.
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American conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, a 2019 Honoree.
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Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein chats with actor Pierce Brosnan.
2019 kennedy center honors
2019 Honoree Linda Ronstadt.
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A welcome luncheon was held at the Kennedy Center on Saturday, with artwork that paid tribute to the year’s honorees.
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2019 Honoree Sally Field.
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi.
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Actress Lucy Liu poses for the cameras on last night’s red carpet.
2019 kennedy center honors
Leah Esper and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
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Country star Carrie Underwood.
2019 kennedy center honors
Nearly 2,000 guests attended last night’s gala, which completely took over the Kennedy Center for the evening.
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Actress Kate Capshaw and 2006 Kennedy Center Honoree Steven Spielberg.
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Country singer Thomas Rhett.
2019 kennedy center honors
The “Honors Bar” at Saturday’s welcome luncheon.
2019 kennedy center honors
The Kennedy Center’s kitchen and catering team, managed by New York-based Restaurant Associates, worked as a veritable culinary assembly line throughout the night to ensure that each course was plated and served promptly to thousands of hungry guests and staff.
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2014 Kennedy Center Honoree Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.
2019 kennedy center honors
Some 400 staff members come together each December to plan and execute the Honors gala.
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Simone Smith and 2017 Kennedy Center honoree LL Cool J.
2019 kennedy center honors
A massive heated catering tent is temporarily constructed behind the Kennedy Center for the Honors gala each year to ensure that guests are delivered each course promptly and at the correct temperature.
2019 kennedy center honors
Illusionist David Copperfield and designer Chloe Gosselin.
2019 kennedy center honors
Ben Vereen and Kevin Kline.
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The Honors Gala is so popular that tables are even installed on the North and South stages of the foyer in order to accommodate demand for seats.
2019 kennedy center honors
While this is Kennedy Center Executive Chef Jaime Montes de Oca’s first Honors weekend, his nearly two decades of culinary experience at iconic establishments like the Plaza Hotel and the Russian Tea Room in New York allowed him to easily come up to speed.
2019 kennedy center honors
Dessert platters sit at the ready waiting for servers to deliver them to tables, for the final course of the night.

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