Local Politics

Inauguration to fill downtown with pomp

Posted January 8, 2009 3:59 p.m. EST
Updated January 9, 2009 1:08 p.m. EST

— When Governor-elect Beverly Perdue is sworn in as North Carolina's 73rd governor on Saturday, it will mark the third day of inaugural festivities.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker will deliver the oath of office to Perdue in a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on the steps of the Division of Archives and History building on East Jones Street. The other nine members of the Council of State – the lieutenant governor and other statewide elected officials – also will be sworn in during the ceremony.

The inauguration will follow two days of pomp that kick off Thursday night in two markedly different atmospheres.

The new Council of State will be recognized at a Thursday evening reception at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. About 1,000 people are expected to attend the $125-per-person reception.

The Rock the Ball event, a concert geared toward younger voters, will be held Thursday night at the Lincoln Theater, on Cabarrus Street.

Both events on Thursday are sponsored by the Junior League of Raleigh to raise money for charity.

On Friday morning, Perdue and other state leaders will attend a morning prayer service at First Baptist Church, on Wilmington Street. Seven North Carolina religious leaders will deliver messages asking officials to exercise leadership, courage and wisdom.

A reception for Perdue will be held Friday evening at the Raleigh Convention Center before she and the Council of State members are formally introduced at an 8 p.m. reception that features music from jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and others.

The inaugural ball will cap off the evening at the convention center. Bluegrass band Chatham County Line, Fantasy, Tres Chicas and The Rick McClanahan Trio will provide musical entertainment, and guest chefs from more than a dozen restaurants across North Carolina will provide hors d'oeuvres and desserts.

Five thousand seats will be set up across from the Division of Archives and History building for the public to attend the inauguration, and several state government parking lots downtown will be open for public parking on Saturday morning. (They are highlighted in green on the map below, while street closings for the event are marked in red.)

About 130 guests will share the platform with Perdue and the Council of State members, including Supreme Court justices, members of Perdue's cabinet, legislators, military leaders and a group of wounded veterans.

Perdue and each Council of State member will be provided with a personally embossed Bible that they can use for their oaths of office, Perdue spokesman Tim Crowley said, adding that some might use a family Bible instead.

Military jets will do a flyover during the inauguration, and Perdue will receive a 19-gun salute after she is sworn in. Actor and North Carolina native Andy Griffith will read a selection written by his wife after Perdue delivers her inaugural address.

The inaugural parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of Fayetteville and Davie streets downtown, heading north to the Capitol grounds before turning east on Morgan Street. Perdue and other dignitaries will watch the parade from a viewing stand at the south end of the Capitol grounds.

The parade route will turn north again on Wilmington Street and end at the intersection of Wilmington and Edenton streets. Marching bands, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, university mascots, Shriners and other groups are expected to take part in the parade.

The festivities conclude Saturday afternoon with an open house at the Governor's Mansion, where Perdue can greet some of her constituents.

Crowley said $250,000 had been budgeted for inauguration events, adding that the final cost for the weekend's events would be "much lower than that."