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Presidential Inauguration Preps Underway
WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- Congress isn't in session this week, but a lot of people are working non-stop on Capitol Hill, preparing for President Obama's second inauguration ceremony.
"It's a big day, a big production, and everything has to go off exactly right," said Matt House, with the Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
For nearly a year, the committee, chaired by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, has been planning everything from the president's arrival at the Capitol to the swearing-in to lunch.
"It's a lot of working together. It's a big ceremony for the president. It's his day. But it takes place on Capitol Hill, so the House and Senate like to have its say in these things," House said.
Senator Schumer made sure his state was well-represented too, with wine from the Finger Lakes and Long Island, and cheese from Cooperstown.
Since September, workers have been constructing a stage on the West Front of the Capitol Building where the president will take the oath of office and deliver his speech. It will hold 1,600 people - including lawmakers and dignitaries.
And before the president departs the Capitol for the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House, he'll review the troops.
"It's going to look similar to ceremonies you've seen in the past, but each one is unique in terms of who speaks and who performs. So we think it's going to be a smooth day and great day to celebrate American democracy," House said.
Organizers aren't sure just how many people will come out to watch the Inauguration here on the National Mall. Four years ago, a record 1.8 million showed up. Visitors can get a glimpse of the ceremonies with a lot fewer people around during a dress rehearsal this Sunday.