January 19, 2009 (WASHINGTON) --
Washington D.C. was one big party on Monday night but also one big parking lot because of a combination of heavy street closings, security and giant crowds producing a monumental case of gridlock. The Illinois Society Ball is one of the hottest tickets in town on the eve of the inauguration. As more than 5,000 people braved the stifling gridlock and tight security to dress up and kick in a few hundred bucks to celebrate their home state hero.
"It's like joy, hope, all the things they've been saying," said Nerissa Hudson, Westchester resident.
Chicagoan Will Burns, now a state representative, volunteered on Obama's first campaign for state Senate.
"It's amazing. We always knew if he had the opportunity and people got a chance to do him he could do great things," said Burns, State Rep. Will Burns, (D) Chicago.