Big Crowds Gather To Celebrate Inauguration Locally

January 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
African-American Historical and Cultural Museum Inauguration PartyThe sound of drums echoed through downtown Fresno's African American Historical and Cultural museum as people of all ages crowded in to congratulate the nation's new leader. They were also there to reflect on an important milestone on the road to equality. "It's important in my life, it's important in my grandchildren's grandchildren's life. This is something that I wish my parents would have been alive to see," said Charlezsette Day of Fresno.

Scott Vandenbergh drove in from North Fork to be with Obama supporters Tuesday night and said there was no where else he wanted to be. "I get tingly every time I think of this presidency and I can't even imagine how the people of color feel about such an event," said Vandenbergh.

Some watched a replay of the day's inauguration festivities and others lined up for a chance to take a picture with a cardboard version of the commander in chief. Girtha Williams of Chowchilla drove to Fresno to celebrate with others. "I don't know none of these people here, it's just like a togetherness for all of us," said Williams.

Several museums offered free admission Tuesday night to give people a chance to celebrate a new beginning. While families took in the met museum, live music entertained the crowd at Arte Americas. "We came down here, we were going to be among our friends and people who share the same feelings we do," said John Sierra, a member of the arts community.

Feelings of change were expressed on canvas at the Downtown Community Arts Collective, where paintbrushes and paint greeted people at the door. Everywhere the crowds gathered, excitement filled the air? as people took in the moment and expressed hope for the future. "I'm overwhelmed, I've been overwhelmed since election day. This means change for all of us, said Claudia Martinez.

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