The Hustle and Bustle of Inauguration Prep

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(Source: Destination DC)

According to reports, President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration is expected to draw more than 1 million people to Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, and some lawmakers nationwide have ceased taking ticket requests.

Ticket scalping, at least online, has seemingly come to a halt, as companies such as StubHub, eBay, and Kijiji have reportedly put a stop to sales or sales of tickets have sold out (depending on who you speak to. After calling StubHub and asking for inauguration tickets, I was first told, “Sure, we have them,” and then, after the representative checked, was informed that they were “sold out.” I asked him to clarify whether they were sold out or sales of such tickets had ceased, and there seemed to be confusion there. A “private broker” was also mentioned.)

These companies were lauded by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) yesterday. “I want to thank eBay/StubHub for not allowing the sale of inaugural swearing-in ceremony tickets on any of its Websites,” Sen. Feinstein said in a news release. “They have led the way and I hope other Internet companies will follow.”

Congressional offices nationwide are reporting tens of thousands of requests for the 240,000 free tickets for the inauguration ceremony.

Many hotels have been booked up, as prospective visitors plan their trips to witness the historic event of a lifetime. If you visit sites such as Craigslist, lodging-related posts reign supreme now that tickets are no longer available for sale. You’ll find many requests for housing exchanges and places to stay. (Someone’s offering a $25,000,  “inauguration package” that includes maid service, a driver, and nightly champagne.)

There’s also a Facebook group offereing “up to the minute information” on inauguration related events, “exclusive invites to events that are not on the public schedule.”

According to the Associated Press, the National Park Service will clear more viewing space along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. Television screens will line the National Mall so people can watch the inauguration and parade, park service spokesman David Barna told the AP Thursday.

Washington, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, is urging planners to use arenas and stadiums to help with overflow crowds who want to view the ceremonies on big-screen TVs, according to the AP. She is also recommending that churches hold viewing parties.

“You can’t judge by past inaugurations. It’s going to break all the records,” Norton said. “They’re going to come with or without tickets. … It’s each man and woman for himself.”

The city is reportedly upping police presence, increasing from an additional 3,000 officers at the last inauguration to 4,000 this time around.

After a lawsuit stemming from war protesters during George W. Bush’s last inauguration, more standing room for the public is expected. There will also be designated “free speech” areas for protesters along the parade route.

New rules are being issued Monday to lower the number of ticketed bleacher seats along the parade route

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