Obama Inauguration Celebrations Around the World
If you don’t want to celebrate President-elect Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration in Washington, D.C. with at least 4 million of your closest friends, or if you’re cursing your airline ticket since you’re going to be abroad for the big day next week, there are many inauguration parties scattered across the globe.
Whether you can’t afford a dime or are willing to shell out some cash in honor of Barack’s swearing-in, hopefully one of these options will satisfy your needs.
Given the 12-hour time difference from the noon swearing-in ceremony, Bangkok parties don’t start until the evening. From 8:30pm to 2am, Americans, Thailand natives and foreigners alike can feast at the Roadhouse Barbeque, featuring typical, mouth-watering American dishes like meat nachos, racks of barbequed ribs and salads. Several hundred people are expected to attend, and it’s free and open to anyone.
Phil Robertson, chair of Democrats Abroad in Thailand said they’ll show videos, have T-shirts and possibly commemorative Obama Inauguration coffee mugs.
The downside? Revelers must pay for their own drinks. Then again, it’s probably going to be cheaper than the Washington, D.C. bars, excited for all the out-of-state money.
In July of last year, Obama spoke to an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin, calling for worldwide unity and togetherness.
“People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment. This is our time,” Obama said that day.
And now in Berlin, it’s time to party.
It’s fitting that the city is holding one of the largest inauguration viewings in the world, with room for hundreds at GOYA nightclub. Doors open at 4:30pm German time, and the ceremony is set to begin soon after that.
Before live music from Folkadelic gets going at 9pm, guest speakers will talk from different American abroad organizations.
Tickets cost €10, or €6 euro after 9 p.m.
Also in Berlin at the Amerika Haus, the swearing-in ceremony will be shown live at 5:30 pm local time after representatives from the Afro-German community give opening remarks. At 7 p.m., an expert panel will tackle “A Turning Point? The importance of Barack Obama’s Presidency to the African Diaspora and minority communities throughout the world.
In the southern part of the country, the Munich International Ski Club is teaming with the California Association of Germany to host the city’s largest inaugural ball.
Though advance registration is required, Donna Peavey of the ski club said there were still some of the 600 spots available. Located at the Arabela Sheraton Grand Hotel Ballroom, doors open at 4:30pm with the inaugural speech, dinner and dancing until midnight. The cost is €75 euro per person, which includes a welcome drink and dinner.
In the city where Obama spent nearly four years of his childhood, Democrats Abroad is throwing a bash that caters to all nationalities.
At least 500 people are expected to show, but 1,000 came on Election night in November, so the number of partiers could reach the four digits. Admission is free and people from all over the globe are likely to attend. Democrats Abroad Indonesia Chair, Arian Ardie said they’d already received inquiries from people as far away as New York who will be in the area January 20 and want a place to view the inauguration and “celebrate hope and democracy.”
While in Jakarta, visitors can take a look at Besuki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi School, where Obama built his education until moving back to Hawaii when he was 10 years old.
Prominent parties all across the country will cater to any expat or Brit for Obama.
For those who don’t have the money to spend on balls in London, travelers can watch the inaugural speech at the Texas Embassy Cantina, set close to the city’s Trafalgar Square. It’s free and open to everyone.
The Tricycle Theatre turns American on the 20th when it offers U.S. beer, pretzels and cheerleaders to rev up the inaugural-watching crowd from 4:30 to 8pm. Tickets costs around £15 pounds, but all proceeds go to the Tricycle Education Programme. Yates Wine bar in the central Leicester Square is also hosting a must-pay event similar to its Election Day party in November.
London’s holding the most esteemed ball at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in Bayswater, located just a Tube stop away from Notting Hill on the green and yellow lines.
Taking place after the ceremony, tickets to the 7pm Lancaster event cost £100, though active-duty military members and seniors over 65 years old receive a £50 discount. There are enough tickets for 1,300 people, and though the event’s nearly sold-out, you can still register as there are bound to be open spots and you may get in.
Thousands of miles away in both distance and climate, Cambridge, England is holding a Hawaiian party in honor of Obama.
No joke. There’s even a competition for best Luau dress.
It’s located at the B Bar and costs £15 in advance.
What’s in a name?
Well, for Obama, Japan, the name recognition grows as fast as the anticipation of the inauguration of the United States’ 44th president.
Nestled in Wakasa Bay in the south-central part of the country about five hours from Tokyo, this small fishing town has boomed in tourism as Obama’s popularity grew.
A huge eruption of joy, dancing and partying erupted after Obama’s election victory, and the mayor of Obama has since declared November 4 an annual holiday and expressed his desire to create a statue of Obama in front of city hall.
In a town where Obama T-shirts, posters and primary parties were seemingly just as popular as in the United States, one can guess Obama is a leading place to be for the president-elect’s inauguration.
The small village where Obama’s father was born – and where many of his relatives still live – is bound to be party-central on Jan. 20.
Though Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Onyango Obama, is experiencing the inauguration in-person in Washington, D.C., hundreds of other revelers will watch their golden boy take the oath of the presidency.
Kogelo, set in western Kenya near the equator, is rural, but has become a popular place for land-buyers since the election.
Visitors can get to the nearby town of Kisumu from most big cities in Kenya – just take a matatu or bus to Kisumu, and from there, ask the locals.
If you’re still not sure you want to travel all the way to Kogelo and figure you will have better options in larger cities, take a hint from my friend Oscar, a Mombasa, Kenya native whose now living in northern Uganda.
When I asked via e-mail if he knew what was goin’ on for the inauguration, he immediately wrote back: “…am not sure what we (Kenya) shall be doing on 20th Jan 2009 but definitely Kogelo Siaya is the place to be. … it’s going to be a PARTY.”
Other places to party:
Tokyo, Japan: Located at The Pink Cow from 7pm to midnight on Jan. 21
Lusaka, Zambia: Located at the Holiday Inn Ballroom at 6pm on Jan. 20