Barack Obama’s inauguration will be the biggest event ever held in Washington, by far. Four million people are expected. Four million. That’s more than one percent of the entire population:
District and federal officials are preparing for as many as 4 million people for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, a crowd that would be three or four times larger than previous big events on the Mall.
Only a fraction of those people will be close enough to get a good look at the action. But officials are planning extra JumboTrons at the Mall and along the inaugural parade route so that spectators can feel a part of the historic day.
“The Mall actually may be the best seat in the house. . . . It’ll kind of be like the world’s biggest stage and auditorium on January 20th,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), adding that the crowd projections have emerged in briefings conducted by federal and local officials.
This city is going to be crazy, in a good way. I never thought I’d see people dancing in the streets here, but that’s what happened on Election night after Obama won. And, this assessment is probably accurate:
Farouk El-Baz, a Boston University expert who analyzed the crowd size, estimated that the entire two-mile stretch is so open that it could hold 3 million people.
“There should be no concern about the number of people. Particularly since this one will be a celebratory gathering. People will be up. They will be pleasant to each other,” El-Baz said.
Yes, they will.