Chicago parties celebrate Obama

January 20, 2009 9:02:08 PM PST
You don't have to be in Washington to feel the excitement of Barack Obama's inauguration. Celebrations were underway all over Chicago on Tuesday night.

And while the Obamas aren't attending any of these parties, supporters can still feel the energy of a new administration.

It's a long way from Washington, D.C. but many Chicagoans are with the new president in the spirit of change. Words and images of Barack Obama are everywhere. And optimism is in abundance.

Many of those at one party on the South Side volunteered for his campaign and spent the day glued to television coverage of the inauguration.

"I laid down and I just could not stop smiling at the thought of where we had come today," said Nancy Cracraft, Obama supporter.

Many of the people would have liked to have witnessed the inauguration in person. But the next best choice was to celebrate in the new president's hometown.

"I didn't go to Washington, D.C., And I just had to come out in camaraderie with the people and just get a feel for what they might have felt there," said Earlene Williams, Obama supporter.

Another party sponsored by radio station WVON is one of dozens of gatherings around the city and suburbs on Tuesday night. Many Obama supporters filled with excitement on inauguration day wanted to share it with others.

"Just wanted to be part of everything and history and celebrate," said Daton O'Banion, Obama supporter.

And in the spirit of bipartisanship that the president himself tried to foster, republicans gathered in the West Loop to celebrate as well.

"It was a great message and we need to share that enthusiasm across party lines," said Joe Birkett, (R) DuPage County state's attorney.