Jan. 17, 2009 — Dont have a ticket to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama? No worries residents across the territory will be able to pull up a chair Tuesday at several local venues that will be broadcasting the event.
On St. Thomas, the Certified Tour Guide Association and Sen. Louis P. Hill have turned Paradise Gate restaurant and bar at Havensight Mall into their official "Obama headquarters," according to a press release.
"I strongly urge all Virgin Islanders to come out and celebrate this historic occasion — to celebrate a future filled with the hope of common humanity, and to celebrate a future where hate is replaced with love," Hill said in a recent statement. "The significance of President Obama's inauguration as the 44th president of the United States resides in the sweat, blood and tears shed by our forefathers so that people of all races, creeds, colors and genders could share in the American heritage, and it truly deserves to be celebrated."
Starting at 11 a.m., inauguration ceremonies will be broadcast on one large 25-foot television screen and on eight 42-inch plasma televisions throughout Paradise Gate. "Obama specials" will be offered throughout the day, along with free Internet and Wi-Fi for customers, according to the release.
The islands certified taxi and tour guides will also trade their usual uniforms in for Obama T-shirts all day.
While the University of the Virgin Islands will be open for business Tuesday, students and staff on the St. Thomas campus will be able to watch the inauguration between noon and 2 p.m. at viewing stations set up in the Dining Pavilion, Student Activities Center, the Health Services Building, the East Residence Hall lobby and the first floor conference room in the Administration and Conference Center.
On St. Croix, a viewing station will be set up in the Cafetorium.
The Tutu Park Mall will also broadcast the historic event on multiple 52-inch television screens set up in the malls central courtyard.
Innovative Cable TV officials recently announced that HBO will televise the opening celebration, which will be held Sunday, starting at 3:30 p.m. local time, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to a recent news release. The ceremony will be rebroadcast at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
"HBO has invited its affiliates — which include Innovative Cable TV St. Thomas-St. John and St. Croix — to open signals for this special event so that every cable subscriber will be able to watch the historical celebration," the release said.
Innovative business centers in both districts will be closed Monday but will be open Tuesday for regular business hours.
Residents will also have the opportunity to put on their best suit or dress and their dancing shoes for a number of inaugural balls scheduled for the next few days in the territory and on the mainland.
St. Croix business-owner Teddy Richards will be co-hosting one such event on the big island with Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital, starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Proceeds from the event will go toward the hospitals new Cardiac Care Center. Tickets, on sale for $29, can be bought in advance or purchased at the door. For more information, call 773-7368.
On St. Thomas, the Tutu Democratic Clubs inaugural ball will be held at Marriot Frenchmans Reef Beach Resort, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125.
The Virgin Islands Associations inaugural ball also kicks off Sunday night at the Hilton Springfield Hotel in Springfield, Va. (See "Pre-Inaugural Ball for Virgin Islanders Set for Jan. 18 in Washington.")
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