Chicago inaugural events

January 19, 2009 2:59:30 PM PST
The preparations for the new president aren't confined to Washington.In Chicago, people are preparing for several big inaugural events.

While it may seem like the entire city of Chicago has moved to Washington for the week, there are thousands that have stayed behind and plan on watching tomorrow's historic moment from one of several watching events.

From the South Side to downtown, big screens are going up to watch the inauguration back in Barack Obama's home town.

With portraits of the past hanging it's library, the 130 year old Union League Club is rich in presidential history.

"Since its inception the club has been involved in sustaining the democratic republic and welcoming links to this club to speak and talk about the issues of the day. It's part of a proud tradition here," said David Kohn, Union League Club of Chicago.

And the tradition continues tomorrow when 400 people will watch the inaugural ceremony from the club's stately main dining room. On display will be some of the club's rare presidential memorabilia.

An 1868 republican nomination flyer for candidate Ulysses S. Grant, letters to the club signed by Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson are just a few of the club's gems.

As for more current memorabilia, a picture of senate candidate Barack Obama wearing a Union League name tag and the two chairs where Senator Dick Durbin says he and Obama sat while talking Obama into running for president.

From downtown to the South Side's Harold Washington Cultural Center where about 400 students will fill this auditorium to watch the first African American take the oath of office after Obama's speech the students will hold a town hall meeting.

It's not just about what the president is saying in his speech but how do we make that something you can apply every day," said T.J. Crawford.

And events will continue throughout the Chicago area well into the night. Obama election volunteers are hosting the Chicago Inaugural Ball at McCormick Place. Dinner dancing and highlights of the historic day are in order.

"We have videos to show about the future of America's promise and the future we will see under President Barack Obama and we will play the actual swearing in and then toast our new president," said Vasyl Markus, Chicago Inaugural Ball organizer.

And during the day, there are several watching events planned at schools throughout the area, including Michelle Obama's alma mater Whitney Young.

And if you are feeling left out and supported the other candidate, DuPage County state's attorney Joe Birkett is hosing an inaugural evening party to celebrate democracy and launch a rebirth of the Republican party.


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