President Obama dances with First Lady Michelle Obama at the Midwestern Ball on the night of his inauguration in Washington, Jan. 20, 2009.
President Obama officially began his second term yesterday but today, he will publicly celebrate it. From galas to a parade his ceremonial swearing-in, here's a rundown of the main inaugural events on tap.
Ceremonial swearing-in - 12:00 p.m. ET
Today, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the National Mall in an attempt to bear witness to the president's second inaugural event. Even if they can't glimpse the president up-close, however, attendees will likely be able to see or hear some of the other perks -- among which include performances by singers Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, and James Taylor. Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams will deliver the benediction, and poet Richard Blanco will read a poem. After taking the oath, Mr. Obama will deliver his second inaugural address.
After his speech, Mr. Obama and Biden will attend an inaugural luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Conforming to a long-held tradition that started in 1897, the Obamas and Bidens, along with about 200 guests, will eat, listen to some music, and receive official congressional gifts in the Statuary Hall.
Next, the president and his family will set off for the inaugural parade from the Capitol to the White House. Following a route charted by Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Obama will travel alongside floats and vehicles from various walks of life until they arrive at the White House. At some point, they'll probably also follow a more recent tradition -- which started with former President Jimmy Carter -- of ditching their ride for at least part of the journey and making the walk on foot.
Continuing yet another recent tradition -- this one started by former President George W. Bush -- Mr. Obama will host an exclusive gala honoring members of the armed forces at the Washington Convention Center. The guest list will include active duty and reserve military members, Medal of Honor recipients, and wounded warriors and their spouses, all of whom will be treated to performances by the likes of Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Marc Anthony.
Inaugural ball - 6:30 p.m. ET
Taking place at the massive Washington Convention Center, the Inaugural Ball is expected to host thousands of guests, some of whom were able to buy tickets online -- though they sold out in minutes. Included among the star-studded performing roster are Stevie Wonder, fun., Alicia Keys, Soundgarden, Mana, and John Legend.
Tuesday, January 22nd - 10:30 a.m.
National Prayer Service
The final inaugural event will be Tuesday morning, when the Obamas and Bidens head to the Washington National Cathedral for a National Prayer Service. The service will include readings, prayers and music from a diverse collection of people.