Inauguration parties set

Published 11:20 pm Saturday, January 17, 2009

If “change” won Barack Obama his presidency, then “historic” will define his inauguration.

Obama’s inauguration has been touted as one of the most significant moments in American history since he will be the first African-American president.

But there is other history being made.

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Some reports say an estimated five million people will be on hand for Obama’s swearing in. President George W. Bush’s inauguration attracted around 300,000 people.

Already there are estimates that the price tag for Obama’s inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. The 2005 inauguration cost roughly $40 million.

For such history, Suffolk is making sure not to miss out.

Staff at the Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts have been working to set up the theater for a special viewing of the inauguration.

“They can watch it in their homes or in their place of work, but this will be on a huge screen – it will be larger than life,” said Doug Naismith, the interim executive director for the SCCA. “The other attraction, I think, will be the idea of community – watching this event with 500 fellow Suffolk citizens. And that’s going to be very interesting to me to see how the community as a group reacts. Sometimes there are just things we want to be together with other people to witness, and I think this is one of those things.”

To make the event happen, SCCA staff had to make a call to Charter Communications to get cable service installed in the building.

“We had to call Charter and ask for a big favor,” Naismith said. “They installed cable in the building free of charge and turned the cable on for free for this event and were wonderful.”

The event is free and open to the public, but people must call in advance to reserve tickets.

Others in town will be celebrating this historic event in their own way.

On Saturday, Van Jones, the Having Church Gospel Show and Brothers & Sisters in Unity sponsored “Gospel Explosion: A Celebration of Barack Obama’s Inauguration.”

Held at Tabernacle Christian Church, the event brought in almost a dozen Gospel acts celebrating Obama’s win.

Following the weekend celebration, a bus will leave the church at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20 to take passengers to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the SCCA event, call 923-2900. For more information on the bus ride to D.C., call 539-7257.