Rahm Emanuel's inaugural celebration will be as much about setting a tone for how he wants Chicagoans to perceive his administration as about commemorating his ascendancy to mayor.
The planning team is going for festive, but not too festive. After all, Emanuel enters office preaching the need for shared sacrifice with the city's wallet short by $600 million or more.
free concert in Grant Park on Saturday afternoon, preceded by community volunteering in the neighborhoods. On Monday, Emanuel will take the oath outside at Millennium Park, and the public again is welcome.
All of that togetherness is being paid for by private donors. The contributors — some who gave as much as $50,000 — get to spend Saturday night at an exclusive reception and dinner with Emanuel at a hip hall on the Near West Side.
Emanuel's camp plans to release the list of donors, though it's not required to do so, a few days later.
Melinda Kelly, one of seven co-chairs chosen by Emanuel to help coordinate the inauguration, said she was tasked primarily with making sure as many residents as possible could participate in the festivities, and to ensure that public events were free. Planners kept in mind the city's financial problems and the money difficulties many residents are experiencing, she said.
"I think this inauguration is going to show how we're all going to pull together" during the Emanuel administration, said Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association. The group receives city economic development funds to help improve small businesses in its South Side neighborhood.
Emanuel also is likely to highlight the need for togetherness going forward in the speech he delivers after being sworn in Monday, according to Tarrah Cooper, a spokeswoman for the Emanuel transition.
The outdoor communal event contrasts with Mayor Richard Daley's first inauguration. In 1989, Daley faced a crowd inside Orchestra Hall as he took the oath to complete the final two years of the late Harold Washington's term.
And Emanuel's speech is expected to differ rhetorically from Washington's first inaugural address in 1983. Chicago's first African-American mayor criticized outgoing Mayor Jane Byrne and told attendees at his Navy Pier ceremony that reform was coming with him to City Hall. Council Wars began soon thereafter.
Emanuel plans to kick off inauguration festivities by taking part in Saturday morning's "day of service."
Four organizations — Chicago Cares, the Chicago Park District, Friends of the Chicago River and One Good Deed Chicago — list 28 projects people can volunteer for. Most involve planting flowers and picking up trash at parks and gardens around the city. People can clean up the banks of Bubbly Creek in Bridgeport or the Chicago River in Lincoln Park, for example.
Emanuel is likely to be joined by Clerk-elect Susana Mendoza and Treasurer Stephanie Neely at one of the sites, where he will pitch in before heading to a couple of other locations to thank volunteers.
From there, the mayor-elect will head to Butler Field in Grant Park, where throwback rockers Chicago will headline an afternoon concert. Free tickets are available upon request at chicagotogether.org, and about 6,000 people had signed up for them as of late last week, Cooper said.
On Saturday evening, Emanuel will head to a reception and dinner at Venue One, an event hall in the 1000 block of West Randolph Street. The guest list to the private event will include "friends, family and supporters," according to Cooper.
People who contributed at least $5,000 to defraying the cost of the inaugural festivities got tickets to the Venue One reception.
Emanuel will take one page out of the Daley inauguration playbook, hosting an afternoon open house at City Hall after Monday's Millennium Park swearing-in, just as the outgoing mayor has done after each of his election victories.
Chicagoans will be able to line up to shake the new mayor's hand in his fifth floor office, just a week after Daley held a farewell open house in the same spot.