Trying to go to the big show?
You’re not alone.
Countless people nationwide are planning to attend the 2017 presidential inauguration to watch Republican Donald Trump, a New York businessman and reality TV star, become the country’s 45th president.
“It’s exciting,” said Colby Hale, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin. “Folks are excited about getting up there. It doesn’t matter which party is being sworn in, the inauguration is a memorable experience.”
The big day is Friday, Jan. 20, but the official celebration begins Thursday, Jan. 19, with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and continues with a welcome celebration and concert that evening.
There will be balls before and after the inaugural swearing-in ceremony and parade the next day.
“President-elect Trump is committed to unifying our country as we once again celebrate the foundation of our American system and the peaceful transfer of power,” Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman Tom Barrack said.
“The 2017 inaugural celebrations will reflect President-elect Trump’s eagerness to get to work in order to make our country safer and stronger.”
And as for the throngs of people who will be crowding in to Washington, D.C., to participate in the inaugural ceremonies, here are a few things to know.
A welcome concert on the National Mall will kick off inaugural events Jan. 19.
Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are expected to appear at the concert, which is billed as combining “a diverse group of performers.”
Organizers say a limited number of free general admission tickets will be available. More details will be posted after Jan. 1 on the Presidential Inaugural Committee website, 58pic2017.org.
The big day
The formal ceremony where Trump and Pence will be sworn into office will take place around noon on the West Lawn of the Capitol.
They will be joined by their families, members of Congress, dignitaries and other guests.
After both men have taken the Oath of Office, the new president will make his inaugural address.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies will distribute around 240,000 tickets for the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
The tickets are free and are either going fast or already gone. Congressional offices have been swamped with requests from constituents trying to get tickets.
Each House member gets roughly 177 tickets to give out; each senator gets around 393.
Each House member gets around 177 tickets to give out, and each senator gets roughly 393. Some offices hold lotteries to give out the tickets; others go with a first-come, first-served system.
As in past years, Sen. John Cornyn’s office has already “received far more requests than available tickets,” said Libby Hambleton, Texas deputy press secretary for the Texas senator. “Requests were prioritized based on when they were received.”
As for Sen. Ted Cruz, all the tickets his office will receive have been claimed. In fact, there were about 1,500 requests for the 393 tickets the office had to distribute. So they decided to give the tickets out on a first-come, first-served basis, said Phil Novack, a spokesman for Cruz’s office.
Williams — whose district stretches from the edges of Tarrant County through Austin — has received more than 500 requests in his office and plans to use a lottery to determine who gets the tickets.
The office of Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, was also swamped with requests, so the staff drew names to decide who would get the tickets.
“They are all spoken for, I believe, but [we] assume some folks will change plans last minute,” said Daniel Rhea, a Barton spokesman. “The tickets cannot be picked up until we receive them, though, which is just a day or two before.”
If all else fails, you can try to watch the ceremony on giant video screens set up on the National Mall.
The office of Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, is giving out tickets on a first-come, first-served basis and has “been able to share our tickets with our Republican colleagues,” said Nelly Decker, a spokeswoman for the office.
And the office of Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point, has been collecting names of people requesting inaugural tickets since November.
If you can’t land a ticket but are in Washington, you can try to watch the ceremony on giant video screens set up on the National Mall.
Everyone loves a parade
If you’re more interested in the parade, head out to Pennsylvania Avenue early to claim a spot in watching the procession travel from the Capitol to the White House.
A limited number of bleacher seats along the parade route will be made available by the Presidential Inauguration Committee. Organizers say the cost of these tickets will be posted on the committee’s website, 58pic2017.org, after Jan. 1.
For the free spots, the best bet is to stake out a spot early and stay there until the parade makes its way down the street.
Kick up your heels
If inaugural balls are your style, you may be out of luck if you don’t already have tickets.
There are a slew of balls — and tickets for each generally run from $100 to $500.
But anybody in the know will tell you that the Texas State Society’s Black Tie and Boots presidential inaugural ball held the night before the inauguration at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is the hottest ticket around.
More than 10,000 tickets to the event have been sold, Williams said. “But there’s always a seat available,” he added.
Trump and Pence have been invited and could drop in to say hello to Texans there.
Tips for attending the presidential inauguration
Planning on heading to Washington, D.C. for the inaugural activities? Here’s a few tips:
▪ Dress warm; wear comfortable shoes.
▪ Go early.
▪ Expect crowds, long lines and potential protests or rallies wherever you go.
▪ Know that if you have tickets to any event, you will likely have to go through security. Make sure to bring a photo ID.
▪ For information about Donald Trump’s transition team and plans, check out the greatagain.gov website.