Wednesday January 05, 2011 | 11:58 PM

Maine's new governor and first lady personally greeted thousands of guests tonight at the Augusta Civic Center, during a packed, invite-only inaugural reception. Instead of holding the traditional ball, Gov. LePage deliberately scaled back the affair in recognition of Maine's tough fiscal situation. Guests wore business attire and enjoyed a cocktail party and a formal receiving line.

At the head of the receiving line, everyone wanted to have a photo taken with Gov. LePage. They also wanted to shake his hand or give him a hug or a momento or a happy piece of news. I was standing among a swarm of people with cameras who were snapping photos from the other side of the security rope. In addition to members of the press, the ever shifting group included friends of those at the head of the naturally very long receiving line. These friends and family members often called out to the Governor hoping he'd look up for the souvenir snapshot.

Suddenly there was a interruption to the receiving line and Gov. LePage was presented with a highway sign that reads "OPEN FOR BUSINESS," in recognition of his desire to create a more business friendly climate in Maine.

After the brief presentation, LePage took the microphone and said: "We'll take a ride to Kittery in the morning and we'll put it up."

The party included a cash bar, a selection of savory and sweet finger foods and the upbeat rhythms of Downeast Brass, seen on the stage in the photo above.

I'll have many more photos from the reception and additional details about what guests had to say in the Jan. 9 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

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