Inauguration parade tickets go on sale

January 07, 1993|By Nelson Schwartz | Nelson Schwartz,Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON -- A small number of tickets for seats at the Inauguration Day parade will go on sale today and a lottery will be used to distribute tickets to an White House open house given by Bill and Hillary Clinton, inaugural planners said yesterday.

Demand for tickets to both events is expected to far exceed supply.

About 6,000 parade seats are being set aside for the general public, far fewer than the number made available four years ago at President Bush's inauguration. Most of the 40,000 spaces on the bleachers that will line the parade route will go to friends and supporters of Mr. Clinton along with Democratic Party VIPs.

The sharp reduction in the number of tickets for the general public seems to contradict promises that this would be the most accessible inaugural celebration in decades. Only about 15 percent of tickets for the parade this year will go to people without any political connections, compared with roughly half in 1989. An additional 10 percent will be distributed to what inaugural officials described as community groups.

Inauguration communications director Richard Mintz rejected any suggestion, though, that planners were backing away from promisesbfor a more open celebration.

"No inaugural in history has provided as many tickets to as many events as this inaugural has," he said. "We've got 300,000 square feet of tent space on the Mall with 30,000 seats and four or five shows a day. The scope and scale of the open events are unprecedented."

Space also will be very tight at the presidential open house on Jan. 21, when the Clintons will greet visitors to the White House from 9 a.m. to noon. Recipients of the free tickets offered will be chosen through a National Park Service lottery. The planners said they don't yet know how many tickets will be available.

For those who don't get tickets, there will be plenty of room to stand along Pennsylvania Avenue and catch a glimpse of the president as he passes. Huge speakers are to be set up along the Mall, so Mr. Clinton's inauguration speech at the Capitol should be audible for blocks.

Tickets to several other bashes are already gone. The Jan. 19 Salute to Children and the Salute to Youth are sold out as is the star-studded American Gala on Jan. 18 at the Capital Centre.

Passes aren't needed for other events. America's Reunion on the Mall, a gathering featuring food, entertainment and art from America's different regions is free and open to anyone. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 17 and 18.

At 3 p.m. Jan. 17, a Call for Reunion will feature a musical celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. After the concert, at 6 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton will cross Memorial Bridge into Virginia to ring a replica of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell.

PARADE TICKETS

Tickets for the Jan. 20 inaugural parade go on sale by phone at 10 a.m. today at TicketMaster. Cost is $10 each. Phone numbers are: 1-800-551-SEAT or 202-432-SEAT.

Free tickets to the Jan. 21 White House open house will be chosen through a lottery held by the National Park Service. Requests are limited to two tickets and must be received by 6 p.m. Jan. 13. Letters must include name, address and telephone number.

Write for tickets to: Presidential Open House; P.O. Box 76401; Washington, D.C. 20013.

Winners will be notified how and when to pick up passes.

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