On January 20, 2009 Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44the president of the United States. After seeing the number of people who turned out at Millennium Park, in Chicago the night of the election, there is little doubt people are going to be scrambling to get tickets to see his inauguration. Since you’re reading this article you’re probably wondering what you need to do to get tickets, how much the price is, etc. Surprisingly the price is free!
Despite the perfect price of tickets to Obama’s inauguration there’s a catch. Unfortunately there are still a limited number of tickets available. To be exact there are 240,000 tickets for the January 20th event. The tickets are produced by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. These tickets are distributed to the members of congress and that is where you will need to get a ticket. Ultimately you will probably need to contact a US House Representative or Senator from your state and request a ticket. How these tickets will be distributed amongst their own state is decided by them.
It is not yet clear how exactly many tickets will be given to each member of congress. But if it follows the pattern of previous years it will likely be one of two ways. Either every member of congress will receive an equal number of tickets or each state will be given a number of tickets based on its population (likely the former.) If each member of congress is given an equal number of tickets, the number of tickets each state will receive will still be closely related to the state’s total population since the number of House Representatives each state has depends on the state’s population.
In any case, if you want tickets you ought to try to get a hold of your Representative or Senator as soon as you can. Even if they won’t put you on a list for a ticket, at least they will hopefully remember you when you contact them again later and see that your are determined to get a ticket.
There are a few more things you need to consider before starting to look for flights to D.C. for the January 20th event. Only 30,000 of the tickets will be include seating and the other 210,000 people watching Obama’s inauguration will have to stand. Further there’s no rain check for the inauguration. If the weather is bad, the inauguration will be moved inside and only a few hundred people will be allowed in….and you’re probably not going to be one of them unless you made some big campaign contributions or have friends in high places! Usually the weather is cold by dry enough for the inauguration. The last time the ceremony was held indoors was President Reagan’s inauguration in 1995.
For groups wanting to participate in the parade, you will need to contact the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (http://www.afic.northcom.mil/participation/parade.html) who will be administering it.
As for lodging, your best bet is to get a hotel room as far from the event as possible. Thousands of reservations have already been made and the prices for hotels around the event are really high. D.C. has excellent public transportation so you should be able to make it to the event easily even if your hotel is quite far away. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket to the inauguration, just plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to get there from your hotel. And use your head….bring adequate photo identification and avoid bringing anything which might be considered a weapon to avoid any potential hassles from security.
Good luck in your quest to attend this historic event!