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20 Jan, 2009 11:41

Countdown to Obama inauguration

Security is tight in Washington DC as the city prepares for what promises to be the party of the century. Two million people are expected in the American capital for the inauguration of Barack Obama – the first black president of the United Sta

The atmosphere began building on Monday when thousands of visitors descended on DC from all over the US. Restaurants and bars were packed with travellers desperate to be part of a defining moment in modern history.

Early on Tuesday morning, crowds rushed to grab the best spots in front of the Capitol to view the inauguration.

The swearing–in is predicted to draw record crowds, far more than the million who turned up to John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

Federal and local security officials are taking no chances. Armed officers are lining the route of the parade and a state of emergency has been declared in Washington because of the huge number of visitors in the city.

Drastic measures, such as being able to tap into the city’s federal funds, had to be taken in order to make sure people will be safe and secure. Meanwhile, it seems that the economic crisis is not going to ruin anyone’s inauguration party.

“I’m picking up Obama memorabilia for the inauguration. I’m also having a party at my house for the inauguration,” said Brent, a shopper.

The economy may be declining in many parts of the U.S., but if you are selling Barack Obama souvenirs and paraphernalia, you are not struggling too much.

“Business has been enormous. We’ve been selling left and right: sweatshirts, t-shirts, anything and everything that is Obama. It just goes. I can’t complain,” said Gus, a store owner.

Meanwhile, many restaurants in the city are ready to welcome visitors and expecting a real business boom.

“The buzz has just been incredible! It has been the busiest January we’ve had in years with the excitement building up to inauguration day, with the events, the parties, the celebrations,” said Kyle Gaffney, the general manager of the ‘Old Ebbitt Grill ’restaurant. “So it’s been unbelievable as far as business is concerned.”

With its displays of antiques and artifacts, the place was a favorite of many American presidents. It still caters for world leaders and political insiders from all over the globe, but good luck trying to find a spot there on inauguration day.

“As soon as even election night, when the place was erupting and people were celebrating, the phones started ringing off the hook from all over the country. California, Midwest, Texas… All of them were making their reservations to come into town. So, we are expecting a very festive and fun atmosphere.”

Surprisingly enough, another industry is thriving due to inauguration day.

Many dermatologists were scared they'd be the first hit by the economic crisis in the U.S. but instead they've been swamped with requests for cosmetic scrub ups ahead of tomorrow's Presidential Inauguration.

Practitioners report that people are looking for quick cosmetic fixes because they want to look their best at the many inaugural parties being held.

Most of the patients are women over thirty five, who include Washington socialites, journalists and politicians. Nevertheless, according to some dermatologists the queues are being joined by men in their 50s and 60s, all wanting to look youthful for tomorrow's historic occasion.