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“Newbie to Inauguration Week — Is this normal?”

by Prince Of Petworth January 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm 20 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I’ve lived in DC three years now, so this is my first inauguration as a resident. I’m curious to ask others who have lived here for prior inaugurations:

Is it normal for them to be giving out inauguration tickets like candy? In the past several days, I’ve seen numerous ads for “free tickets” on Facebook, on news sites, etc. not only for the inaugural concert, but the inauguration itself. It seemed strange to me, but I did hear that the turnout is expected to be less than half of what Obama’s 2009 inauguration garnered, so maybe that’s why they’re practically begging people to come?

Secondly, the tickets I was sent after registering say “commemorative ticket only” and do not feature my name, a barcode or any other features that you’d normally have on a ticket you’ve registered for. Is this normal?

Again, I have nothing to compare this to, so I’m curious what others have experienced.”

  • Michael Pierce

    I’m guessing that “commemorative ticket only” means that it’s just a souvenir; it doesn’t permit you entry to any of the assigned seating sections.

  • wdc

    You know those plastic commemorative coins they throw from the floats at Margi Gras, with the crewe name on them? Your ticket is like those, in terms of real-world value.

  • Anon
  • John Kinsella

    Goes with saying, but: DO NOT GIVE ANYONE MONEY FOR THESE!

    • FridayGirl

      +1. Also don’t get phished. If it looks suspicious, it is.

  • wdc

    I just noticed… this isn’t even a fake ticket to Inauguration. This is a fake ticket for the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration tonight at the Lincoln Memorial.

    • maxwell smart


    • Petworth Anonymous

      I’m the OP . . . I have two “commemorative tickets,” one for the concert and one for the inauguration.

  • bummed

    Several thoughts. But to try to be germane, this commemorative ticket pertains to an event today (January 19) that is being held by the Lincoln memorial, not the inauguration itself. From prior experience, if you want to see the inauguration, either hustle to get a ticket from a member of Congress now or get to the mall early where the general public can view it on large screens on the mall.

  • Peter Orvetti

    Actual tickets are easier to come by than in the past due to lower response than the transition had expected. But anything being handed out isn’t a real ticket.

  • you got scammed

    Real tickets can only be obtained through your members of congress or from the transition team.

    • Hill Denizen

      Yes. Our office did have quite a few leftover tickets, but we’re not allowed to sell them or anything.

  • navyard

    Is it normal? I think it’s the new normal. (meaning if the new administration can put personal gain before public gain, they will absolutely do it)

    Rachel Maddow had a segment about the Trump team paying for adverts to try to increase attendance
    They link to are free tickets, but before you get there, they try to get you to pay money for a “Trump commemorative license plate”



    During the event with the Pope, there were hill staffers handing out *real* tickets at every entrance. It could be that they’ve given out so few of the tickets they’re literally handing them out on the streets.

    • navyard

      Really? Darn. My neighbor tried to give me some but I declined because I didn’t want to stay the whole time and I didn’t want to be disrespectful. I ended up standing right next to the a*hole with the loudspeaker who kept telling the pope why his beliefs were wrong and that he was going to hell. Absolutely ruined everything for anyone within 100 yards.

      I looked up the noise laws after that (when freedom of speech crosses over into disturbing the peace). my understanding was that when someone uses a megaphone to drown out someone else’s speech (the pope), then that crosses the line and should be stopped. But the police did nothing. I’m considering printing out one of those passages and showing it to the police when someone points a megaphone in my ear this weekend, but I know the police won’t do anything about it.

  • L.

    No, it’s not normal.

    Have a look at this WaPo map: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/local/2017-inauguration-map/?hpid=hp_local-topic-chain_map%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    You see there where you need a ticket to get in on Inauguration day. Ticketed areas (both standing and seated) are on the eastern side of the Mall, near the Capitol to about 4th Street. Tickets for those areas are free but in practice the president and Congress have a set number of tickets to give out to donors, constituents, etc. So it takes some doing/connections to get those but they technically don’t cost anything. Usually these are in high demand and therefore targeted for scalping, but again they are supposed to be free. If the Trump people are advertising/giving out these types of tickets, then it’s highly indicative of a lack of demand from Congress/donors/constituents.

    Going further west, big chunks of the mall are non-ticketed standing room and anyone can show up as long as they go through security. Definitely you don’t need to reserve a ticket for that area, and like FridayGirl says you should NEVER EVER pay for one. Unclear why Trump et al are trying to convince people they need to register, unless they’re 1) trying to get their supporters’ information for selling/renting to other businesses/political groups (this is standard practice for both parties, btw) and/or trying to sell Trump-branded merchandise to Trump supporters.

    All that said, it looks like this ticket is for a non-inauguration event taking place the day before. Dunno what the standard practice is there.

    • textdoc

      “Unclear why Trump et al are trying to convince people they need to register, unless they’re 1) trying to get their supporters’ information for selling/renting to other businesses/political groups” — Ding ding ding!!

  • soozles

    I remember going to Bill Clinton’s first inauguration and had a friend who worked for Sen. Sasser of Tennessee. He got us tickets for the lawn, and we were lucky to have them. Everyone was so stoked after that election, I’m pretty sure they weren’t just handing out tix for the lawn at the last minute. For Obama II, we stood on the Washington Monument grounds (no tix needed), but unfortunately, the jumbotrons weren’t working, so we missed most of it.

  • llucas

    The fact that people are paying for inaugural tickets (which are available for free in advance from your member of congress) is a mystery to me. I read that one scalper expected to get $1500 per ticket. Now he can’t give them away.

  • Anon

    My wife’s office literally couldn’t get anyone to take tickets. Huge change from prior years.


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