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By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

What to know for the presidential swearing-in

Anne McBride | Hatchet Photographer
Anne McBride | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017 at 4:13 p.m.

Although inaugural weekend is filled with exciting events, the swearing-in ceremony is the main event as the president-elect becomes president.

During the swearing-in ceremony, both the president and vice president take their presidential oaths of office and the new president will give his inaugural address. After the event, the new president and vice president attend an inaugural luncheon inside the Capitol Building before they head out to the parade route.

The swearing-in ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 20 on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building. The event begins with performances, then the new vice president takes his oath of office, followed by the new president’s swearing-in at noon.

Tickets for a seat at the swearing-in ceremony are no longer available, but if you were lucky enough to get a ticket through a lottery system, you’ll still want to arrive early. Gates to the ticketed areas open at 6 a.m., so spectators who get there early should expect to stand for at least seven hours throughout the ceremony.

If you don’t have a ticket to the swearing-in ceremony, Jumbotrons will be installed on the National Mall in areas reserved for non-ticketed spectators. The gates to the National Mall will be opened around 5 a.m.

All areas west of Fourth Street, past the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Gallery of Art, will be open to the public, although the museums themselves will not be open.

Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old former America’s Got Talent contestant and runner-up, will perform the national anthem to kick off the ceremony at the Capitol Building. Other groups, like The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Radio City Rockettes, are also scheduled to perform at the event.

Security will be tight all over the mall on Inauguration Day, but non-ticketed areas will not require security screenings. For those with tickets, there are separate security screening areas based on the color of your ticket. Be sure to check the list of prohibited items before going through security.

As it is January, cold weather on Inauguration Day is a almost certain. Visitors should plan to wear lots of warm winter clothing. If you’re planning to wake up early in hopes of getting a peek of the new president as he gives his inaugural address, you’ll also need comfortable shoes, because crowds start lining up hours before the ceremony begins.

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