A full day of events marking the start of Barack Obama's presidency are being held today in the Twin Cities.
This morning, televised viewings of the festivities from Washington, D.C., are scattered around the metro.
A few dozen people are packed into the Golden Thyme coffee shop on St. Paul's Selby Avenue in the historically black Rondo neighborhood to watch the historic transfer of power.
"I can't explain my emotion, but I truly believe that this is what Martin Luther King dreamed of," said Betty Glascow, 62.
The Rev. Darryl Spence said, "I couldn't sleep last night. It was like the night before the big game."
Spence said that his 10-year-old son, Darryl Jr., portrayed Obama along with Asian and white classmates in a school skit on Friday at nearby J.J. Hill School. "That was one of the highlights of my life," the elder Spence said.Crowds packed the Riverview Theater in south Minneapolis to capacity this morning to watch the Inauguration. The theater seats 700 and theater owner Loren Williams estimates that just as many people were turned away. The audience clapped loudly for Obama and his family several times, and hissed and booed at the sight of former president George W. Bush. Among the guests were students from Concordia Creative Learning Academy, a charter middle-school in St. Paul. Many of the students had volunteered on Obama's campaign. "It was great: the speeches, the singing," said eighth-grader B.J. Allen. "I feel great, and I helped him." Allen and some classmates said they heard racial epithets at times while making phone calls for Obama's campaign. But they volunteered for months and said they felt vindicated to see today's inauguration. Community members organized the event and the space. Williams said that in his 19 years of running the theater, he has only once seen such a crowd - that was for a free viewing of Alfred Hitchcock's film, "The Birds."
The viewing at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, includes post-inaugural discussion with the League of Women Voters Minneapolis.
Later today, celebrations take hold.
Locations include the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet; Epic, 110 N. 5th St., Minneapolis; Seven Sushi Ultralounge, 700 Hennepin Av., Minneapolis; Eclipse Records, 1922 University Av., St. Paul; Lee's Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Av., Minneapolis; Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Av. S., Minneapolis; and Visage, 400 3rd Av. N., Minneapolis.
For details, visit www.startribune.com/politics/37850709.html?elr=KArksUUUU.
Star Tribune staff writers Paul Walsh and Chao Xiong contributed to this report.