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Boston offers own version of inaugural festivities

Banner Staff

Greater Boston residents looking for a place to celebrate next Tuesday’s historic inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama but unable to make the trip down to the nations’ capital have a bevy of options right here at home.

The Old South Church — located at 645 Boylston Street, at the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth streets — will be hosting a live TV broadcast of the presidential inauguration in its main sanctuary, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The historic church, founded in 1669, has boasted members such as Samuel Sewall, a Puritan judge involved in the Salem witch trials who wrote “The Selling of Joseph,” the landmark 1700 tract criticizing the practice of slavery, after leaving the bench; and the legendary Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet. For more information, call 617-425-5150.

If you’re looking for a more festive atmosphere, the Commonwealth Seminar — an organization dedicated to fostering civic engagement and participation in local government — is throwing an Inauguration Watch Party next Tuesday at the Cactus Club Restaurant, located at 939 Boylston Street. Beginning at 11 a.m. and running through 2:30 p.m., staff, friends and colleagues of the five-year-old nonprofit will broadcast the inauguration ceremony and subsequent parade on five televisions, including a giant screen in the restaurant’s main room. Participants will have access to a Mexican buffet and a cash bar. All are welcome, including families; the organization is encouraging attendees to make a $20 suggested donation to help cover event expenses. For more information, visit

Across the Charles, the City of Cambridge is anticipating great community interest in watching the inaugural festivities. City officials have established a number of public venues for watching the broadcast between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., including (all addresses in Cambridge):

• Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue

• Cambridge Police Department, Community Room, 125 Sixth Street

• City Hall, 795 Mass Avenue, Sullivan Chamber, 2nd Floor

• Lombardi Building, Basement, 831 Massachusetts Avenue

• O’Neill Branch Library, 70 Rindge Avenue

• Central Square Branch Library, 2nd Floor Training Room, 45 Pearl Street

• Community Room at Trolley Square, 2379 Massachusetts Avenue

• Water Department, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway

• 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room

For more information about viewing locations in Cambridge, call the City Manager’s Office at 617-349-4300.

The citywide celebration promises to stretch into the evening hours, as well, with several local get-togethers of note scheduled around the city.

Youth voters, who turned out in record numbers for Obama in November, will have an inaugural party of their own at Mantra, located at 52 Temple Place in Downtown Crossing. The special inaugural ball, which will feature complimentary appetizers and a live DJ, will recognize the young Democrats elected and re-elected during the 2008 campaign season. A special 21+ VIP reception starts things off from 6:30 p.m., with the full festivities (which are open to partygoers 18 years of age and older) scheduled to run from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. Obama’s inauguration speech will be projected on the nightclub’s walls.

Tickets cost $10 in advance of the 20th, $15 at the door, and the club’s dress code is semi-formal. For more information, call Elaine Almquist at 978-375-2448, e-mail her at, or visit

Not to be outdone, the state Democratic Party’s calendar is chock full of Inauguration Day events, affording citizens from all over the Bay State an opportunity to gather with fellow revelers and celebrate the start of the new administration.

Here in Boston, organizers have set up an inaugural ball for residents of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Roslindale, which will be held at the Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall, located at 182-186 Dudley Street in Roxbury. The event, scheduled to start at 8 p.m. and wrap up at midnight, will feature live music and dancing, the full inauguration speeches, video from the campaign trail, food, drinks, an Obama memorabilia raffle and more. Tickets for the event cost $44, with proceeds going to the Wards 11 and 19 Democratic Committees. For more information, e-mail Esther Kaplan at or visit

For many local residents, the highlight of the local inaugural celebrations will come at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center next Tuesday night.

The Partnership Inc., an organization dedicated to spurring the career advancement of professionals of color, is hosting an inaugural ball at the South Boston convention hall. Scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., the “black-tie optional” gala will include live music, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, a live broadcast of the D.C. celebration and special messages from Gov. Deval Patrick and other elected officials.

“We’re trying to create our own version of a formal celebration where people who were either directly involved or just are very happy and hopeful about this administration can come together and say, ‘Gosh, this is really cool,’” The Partnership CEO Dr. Beverly Edgehill told the Boston Globe. “This really is about creating a moment for the Boston region to celebrate.”

Tickets for the gala cost $50 per person, and the R.S.V.P. date is Jan. 16, 2009. For more information, call 617.262.2828, e-mail or visit