As President Obama prepares to formally embark upon his second term on Monday, Washington, D.C. kicks off a weekend of celebrating on behalf of his inauguration. From galas to a parade to two separate swearings-in, here's a rundown of the main inaugural events on tap.
National Day of Service
Continuing a tradition he kicked off during his first inaugural weekend, President Obama and his family will do some service work this Saturday -- and he's asking people across the country to join him. This year, because his inauguration falls on the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., the president's asking people to do some volunteer work in the civil rights leader's honor. There will also be a celebration of service on the National Mall, which will feature activities, trainings, and opportunities to sign up for regular service gigs.
Kids' inaugural - 6:00 p.m. ET
Inaugural weekend includes its share of staid affairs, but the Obamas haven't excluded kids in planning the festivities: On Saturday evening, First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, along with Jill Biden, will attend a children's concert featuring stars like Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder and the cast of "Glee." Other entertainers at the show, which will take place at the Washington Convention Center, include Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, fun., John Legend, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior, Nick Cannon, Smokey Robinson, Soul Children of Chicago, and Usher.
Sunday, January 20
The public swearing-in ceremony isn't until Monday, but because January 20, the mandated swearing-in date, falls on a Sunday this year,: First a private ceremony administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and then again on Monday during the festivities. Vice President Joe Biden will be sworn in on both occasions by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who will become the first Hispanic and fourth woman to deliver the oath.
Monday, January 21
Ceremonial swearing-in - 12:00 p.m. ET
On Monday morning, 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. Finally, after being sworn in ceremonially, Mr. Obama will deliver his second inaugural address.
After the president has been sworn in at the Capitol, he and Biden will join up with their families for 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.