Guide to Viewing Inaugural Events

So many sources of information out there, so little time to read them all. Here's the official Presidential Inauguration Committee and the Joint Congressional Committee on the Inauguration websites .

If you're at work tomorrow, you can watch the actual inauguration online here. All networks of course will broadcast the event, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET It takes place on the National Mall at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. No tickets required, open to the public, starting at 8:00 am.

After President Obama takes the oath of office and delivers his Inaugural address, there will be a departure ceremony for George W. Bush.

Following that, Obama will be escorted to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional Inaugural Luncheon. The menu is here and the recipes for them are here. The herb-roasted pheasant and molasses whipped sweet potatoes look pretty good and easy to make. [More...]

At 2:30 pm, the parade starts at Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Most of the route is open to the public for standing room access. Viewing spots are available on a first come, first serve basis. Gates open at 7:00 am.

Three of the ten official inaugural balls will be televised:

  • Tonight, the Kids' Inaugural Ball, broadcast on The Disney Channel, tonight at 8pm. Who's playing? Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. You can watch afterwards at 9:30 pm online here.

Tomorrow Night:

  • Neighborhood Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Convention Center, Hall D
    Doors open: 5:00 PM, Event begins: 7:00 PM
    Event Concludes: approximately 10:30 PM
    Broadcast at 8pm on ABC. Musical performances by Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Stevie Wonder and Nick Cannon (as DJ).
  • Youth Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Hilton
    Doors open: 7:00 PM, Event begins: 9:00 PM
    Event concludes: approximately 2:30 AM
    Young Americans age 18 - 35
    Broadcast on MTV

The other offical balls:

  • Commander-in-Chief's Ball
    Location: National Building Museum
    Event begins: 7:00 PM
  • Obama Home States Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Convention Center, Hall E
    Event begins: 7:00 PM
  • Illinois and Hawaii invited guests
    Biden Home States Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Convention Center, Ballroom
    Event begins at 8:00 PM
    For Delaware and Pennsylvania invited guests
  • Eastern Inaugural Ball
    Location: Union Station
    Event begins: 10:00 PM
    For Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands invited guests
  • Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Convention Center, Hall A
    Event begins: 8:00 PM
    For Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, and West Virginia invited guests
  • Midwest Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Convention Center, Hall C
    Event begins: 8:00 PM
    For Kansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Missouri invited guests
  • Southern Inaugural Ball
    Location: DC Armory
    Event begins: 10:00 PM
    For Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas invited guests
  • Western Inaugural Ball
    Location: Washington Convention Center, Hall B
    Event begins: 8:00 PM
    For Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma, Guam/AS invited guests

There are three dinners tonight:

  • National Building Museum
    Honoree: General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)
    Event begins: 5:00 PM
    This event is invitation only, and it will be pooled press.
  • Hilton Washington
    Honoree: Senator John McCain
    Event begins: 5:00 PM
    This event is invitation only, and it will be pooled press.
  • Union Station
    Honoree: Vice President-elect Joe Biden
    Event begins: 6:30 PM
    This event is invitation only, and it will be pooled press.

The theme of the inauguration is "A New Birth of Freedom", commemorating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. It was chosen by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies in consultation with the Senate Historian's Office.

If you are interested in security or how to get around or prohibited items, here's the Secret Service webpage for the event. There's more on the District of Columbia's website. You can even sign up for DC tweets and updates. Right now, they are preparing for snow.

For news and updates, Huffington Post has an excellent inauguration page .

The Huffpo pre-inauguration ball at the Newseum is tonight and will be interactive. Sheryl Crow and will.i.am will be performing.

People at the party will be able to share the experience with people across the country in a number of ways: attendees will be able to liveblog their experiences at a liveblog station. This liveblog will be featured prominently on HuffPost's home page - with readers able to comment and ask questions of our livebloggers in real time. Live video of the event will also be featured on HuffPost - as will any pictures party guests take and fwd to a special flickr account. And attendees will be encouraged to Twitter about their party experiences, and update their Facebook pages accordingly.

I hope Twitter can handle the traffic. Expect no detail to be too small or trite for coverage. Case in point: Michelle Obama's aesthetician reshaped her eyebrows to eliminate some of the high arch after many complained she looked too harsh.

Ridiculous story of the day so far: Krispy Kreme will give everyone a free donut at their stores tomorrow to celebrate the inauguration and the anti-choice American Life League thinks its a sinister attempt to support abortion because they are letting the customers pick the kind of donut in a salute to freedom.

Do we need change in this country or what?

< Jose "Chegui" Torres, RIP | A Historic Day Tomorrow . . . >
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  • Display: Sort:
    The fish stew looks. . .iffy (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:45:25 PM EST
    But banquet food often is.

    The menu is ... (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:28:26 PM EST
    is inspired by food favored by Lincoln, and will be served on Lincoln replica china.

    The first idea I think is kinda cool.  The use of replica china, however, is very cheesy.

    Wonder if we'll see replicas of the replica china on QVC before the week is out?


    A Today's Special Value? ;) (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by byteb on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:29:56 PM EST
    What is with the obsession with (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:21:44 PM EST

    Don't get me wrong - as role models go, Lincoln isn't a bad one by any stretch - but at what point does it begin to feel like it is being forced on people?

    Can't Obama just be himself?  Be the change he wants to bring to the country?  Lead from who he is, and not attempt to make himself be a Lincoln for this new age?

    If Lincoln is his hero, that's a good thing.  I would like to see him bring the best elements of all our former presidents to the monumental tasks ahead of him, but I would just like to see more of Obama and feel more of Obama in all of this.

    It must be hard to know you carry such historical weight on your shoulders, but I think he will be more successful carving out a niche for himself, putting his own stamp on this historic moment, if he brings more of himself to the task.

    I will be watching tomorrow, etching history in my mind, and hoping and praying for Obama and those he has chosen to surround himself with to have the strength and moral courage to give the best of themselves for a nation that desperately needs that from all of us.


    Well (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:27:27 PM EST
    He did not grow a beard...  And fashioning a menu after Lincoln seems more apt than the last fiasco:

    Diners attending any of three candlelight inaugural dinners will be treated to a menu best described as "donor's delight," a compilation of dishes intended to honor major Bush campaign fundraisers. The chef's challenge: 4 courses and 12 brand names, representing millions in donations


    From Coca Cola to Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Pilgrim's Pride turkeys, Scheib's dishes must satisfy the most powerful appetite on Capitol Hill these days: the taste for money.

    "I've never had to create dishes that include soda, doughnuts and canned fruit before," says Scheib, who received his training at the Culinary Institute of America,...


    Figuring out how to incorporate Coca-Cola into the meal was an altogether different matter, says Scheib. "It's a refreshing cola beverage, there's no doubt about it. But how do you cook with it? I had no idea." In the end, Scheib used the Coca-Cola as the basis for a brine...



    I do tend to think that comparisons like (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:31:24 PM EST
    that should be left for others to make.

    If he is using Lincoln as a model, I hope he remembers that Lincoln never did persuade his enemies to see things his way. He had to literally beat them into submission. I'm not recommending that as a way to deal with the red states and their congresscritters - I'd rather he just ignore them and move ahead - but let's not waste time trying to appease them.


    heh (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:50:12 PM EST
    It's difficult to imagine anything resembling that fish stew in the 1860s if you lived anywhere other than MA, ME, or RI.

    Lakes Had Fish (none / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:53:46 PM EST
    Back then too.

    The recipe allows for substitutions (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:01:48 PM EST
    but calls for scallops and lobster.

    Neither of which (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:25:25 PM EST
    are fish.

    The original probably used salt cod.


    I See (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 06:03:34 PM EST
    Sea Food

    Guide to viewing the veep (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:19:34 PM EST
    and his wife, after her slip today:  That's where the fun may be, when Bidens open their mouths. :-)

    Seriously - I had to laugh when I saw the (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:24:53 PM EST
    clip of Jill Biden revealing that Joe had his pick of Secretary of State or VP...somehow, I think both Bidens' tag line should be, "did I say that out loud?"

    And, I'm sorry, but everytime Biden smiles, I am reminded of the Friends episode where Ross whitened his teeth to the point where they glowed in the dark.  Blindingly white.


    Saying the wrong thing seems to be (none / 0) (#17)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:28:55 PM EST
    a Biden family trait.

    I'm not sure, but isn't it illegal for Obama to discuss giving Biden a cabinet seat before he was elected President?


    Yes (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:31:54 PM EST
    I noticed that in the NYT mag spread. It really stuck out.. freaky white, and obviously he wears then with great pride.

    15 hrs 39 minutes left in the Bush administration (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:22:28 PM EST
    I'm getting the champagne out early.

    Let's party!! (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:46:52 PM EST
    Can you believe it?  I'm so flippin ecstatic.  God, we made it.  After champagne though I'm finishing my read of Edward Sawtelle.  Nobody at the party is going to miss me. I just want to do something calm and peaceful.  Something that you would do when you feel certain the bottom isn't going to drop out of the world in an instant and we're all fecked.

    That's exactly it (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:07:56 PM EST
    I will be able to relax a little knowing the country is in good hands.  I hope to lose some of the anger I have carried around for so long. I have no illusions that I will agree with everything, and I will speak up when I disagree, but that is a far cry from being angry at every single thing being done by my government.

    I feel like I have been (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:41:15 PM EST
    holding my breath for the last eight years. Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop, and getting hit with a seemingly never-ending supply of other shoes.

    There were times when I didn't think the country would survive the Bush reign. I've been angry with other presidents--Nixon and Reagan come immediately to mind-- but I never doubted we would survive them. With George W. I had serious doubts.

    Less than 12 hours to go. I can't wait to breathe again.


    Jeralyn, these times (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:43:46 PM EST
    are all EST, are they not?

    yes (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 04:44:31 PM EST
    I guess I should add that. Thanks.

    Erhard Seminars Training? (none / 0) (#29)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jan 20, 2009 at 04:15:25 AM EST
    I didn't even know that still existed.

    Lots of interesting challenges (none / 0) (#5)
    by SOS on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 05:28:41 PM EST
    ahead of us.

    Bishop Robinson's Invocation (none / 0) (#21)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:53:05 PM EST
    For those who want to hear and see it, click here.  Apparently HBO and the Inaugural Committee are now fingerpointing about who is responsible for not broadcasting it.

    Wow (none / 0) (#23)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:10:44 PM EST
    clicked on that recipe link...where am I supposed to get 6 1 lb Maine lobsters???!!!

    They need to lower the age by which one is qualified to be President.  I can't afford this!!!  ;)  But I hope the Obamas enjoy it!

    Price is down (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:17:22 PM EST
    on account of the economy.

    I LOVE lobster.


    If I were going to (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:26:11 PM EST
    recreate the Inauguration luncheon, I might just switch that dish out for fresh steamed oysters...my god they are good down here in NC!  And they'll be in season for a few more months!

    Too bad Obama won't be able to enjoy them.  I have to find some lobster though.

    Also, Miami was wonderful (IIRC you were there as well andgarden, a while ago...probably right before the cold front!)...well, let me say, South Beach was good.  Didn't actually get to Miami.  What an interesting town.


    Glad you enjoyed it (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:29:10 PM EST
    I had absolutely PERFECT weather while I was there. I came back to the teens in New York, which sucked.

    Thanks! and as for cold, yikes (none / 0) (#27)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 11:33:28 PM EST
    I went with a friend from NYC, who kept calling friends there...it was what, 10 degrees, or less this week?  FL remained wonderful.  Even at 60-65...Good luck with the cold andgarden!