While more than 2.5-million incoming partiers mob Washington, D.C., for the biggest bash in its history, local patriots are getting in on the fun by celebrating the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama closer to home. Here are some of the local gatherings to celebrate this historic week:
USF Viewing Party
The Marshall Center Ballroom on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus, 4202 E Fowler Ave., will open its doors at 10 a.m. for a viewing party. About 200 commemorative buttons will be handed out, refreshments will be served and USF's Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement will have information on ways to stay involved in politics.
History in the Making
This luncheon sponsored by the Friends of Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum and a local firefighters union will play the swearing-in on the big screen at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, in St. Petersburg. The doors open at 10 a.m. Tuesday and lunch will be served. Tickets are $25 at woodsonmuseum.org or by calling (727) 892-5202.
A potluck open house celebration at Uniquely Original Art Gallery, 1655 16th St. S, St. Petersburg, will have a wide-screen TV, music and festivities starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Free.
Tampa Theatre screening
The historic movie house will open its doors at 10 a.m. to let the community watch the inauguration ceremony on the big screen. Free. The broadcast begins at 11 a.m., and seating is first-come, first-served at 711 N Franklin St.
Historic Inaugural Ball
Dress to the nines and party like you're Oprah at Gulfport Casino on Tuesday night with music by the Vicki Scuteri Quintet and DJ Randy. There will be dancing, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar at the Pinellas Democratic Party event. 7 p.m. at 5500 Shore Blvd. S. Tickets cost $20 at pinellasdemocrats.com or (727) 327-2796.
The South Tampa meet up group that boasts it promotes democracy "one pint at a time" will toast Obama at Rock-N-Sports Bar and Grille, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Although the swearing-in will be earlier in the day, they plan to join the celebration that continues all over the country late into the night.
Palm Harbor MoveOn members are organizing an inaugural bash to celebrate the "unbelievable groundswell of participation" during Obama's campaign, said Dan Allen, a MoveOn member. It starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Strokers Billiard & Lounge at 30901 U.S. 19 N.
Watch the presidential inauguration on a big screen at the New Port Richey Library, 5939 Main St. Free.