Inauguration parade: Participants and events
The 56th Inauguration Parade starts at 2:30pm and will make its way through the streets of Washington DC to celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama.
There was 1,400 people that applied to be in the parade and just over 90 musical, cultural and community groups were chosen.
“The inaugural parade is a celebration of America,” says Emmett Beliveau, executive director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, “and we are working to make sure that as many citizens as possible can take part in this historic tradition.”
The parade will go along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, and Obama will lead the way for part of it and then watching the rest with Joe Biden from the Presidential Box.
There is a blue line painted down the middle of the street for the parade marchers to follow, so that the 13,000 marchers do not stray off the route. It is free to watch the parade.
The parade will include a company of black Civil War re-enactors, Chinese dragon dancers, U.S. astronauts and a Mars rover, Tuskegee Airmen, and the Suurimmaanitchuat Eskimo Dance Group.
The Inauguration Parade for Barack Obama will take place today is Washington DC - it will be watched by about two million people and will be televised around the world. In this year's parade, there will be 15,000 people taking part and it is set to be one of the biggest parades ever.
When George Washington took office in 1789, the very first Inaugural Parade was held, and during the long trek from Mount Vernon to the city, there were many local militias that joined the process along the way. When it arrived in Washington, members of the continental Army, government officials and members of Congress all escorted Washington into the Federal Hall for his swearing in.
The first organized parade came in 1809 when James Madison was escorted by a regiment of military men from Georgetown to the Capitol. After taking the Oath of Office, Madison sat for the review of nine militia companies.
In 1841, William Henry Harrison's Inaugural parade expanded to military groups from outside of the Washington DC area for the first time. Military bands and student groups also joined the festivities, setting future precedents.
In 1865, when Abraham Lincoln had his second Inauguration, some African Americans marched in the parade and joined the procession to Washington and then to the White House.
In 1909, a blizzard forced the parade to be moved indoors for William Howard Taft's swearing in.
Ronald Regan's second inaugural parade in 1985 was the only parade that has been canceled due to poor weather conditions outside.