Back in 2001 Dale, Lizzie and I went to the inaugural ceremonies. While looking back although I'm glad to have had the experience, it's an experience I'd rather not relive. It was cold, drizzly, and crowded. Like any event these days having to do with the president, security was suffocating and the rules made attending almost miserably longer than necessary.
If you have tickets to the ceremony there are certain levels. Good tickets get you in the chairs near the capitol balcony so you can see what's going on. If you have chair tickets you must be at your place hours before anything begins (I remember it being 9 a.m.) and in January that means sitting or standing around while getting colder and often wetter. If you don't have tickets you try and get to a spot on the mall early enough to get at least of peek at what's going on. Then hours of standing, most often in cold weather.
We had chair seats thanks to Lizzie's connections while working for a member of Congress.
We made a huge mistake before heading for the yellow taped off cattle line to get into the viewing area. We went to a coffee shop near the capitol around 8 a.m and sat inside and drank coffee. You don't have to use much imagination to know how that affected us by the time everything ended at 1 p.m. Think isolated banks of porta pottys with long lines of people with extreme urgency. By us I mean me.
That year we also had tickets to the parade, tickets which would get us into a restaurant along Pennsylvania Avenue, again thanks to a friend's connection. But we never got there. The crowds along Penn Ave and every side street were shoulder to shoulder. We could not move. We'd go down another side street to try and work our way closer to the restaurant and have security people go through our belongings. Every time. Finally got to the back of the restaurant where we had tickets, got in the back door and onto the stairway with some other folks who also had tickets. Never got in. Security people insisted we had to go in only from the front and that was impossible. We asked how we would manage that and they just shrugged.
So we went to the Metro and back to Lizzie's apartment and watched the parade on tv. Not bad really, it was warm and no crowd.
In succeeding years Lizzie and Darren went to a couple of the balls.
The Agriculture Ball
Katie and Charlie had tickets for the 2008 Inaugural, but sold them. Heh.
Here's a chart detailing what the weather was like for every inaugural. Interestingly cold.