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January 13, 2003

Free, Family-Oriented Event to be Highlight of Blagojevich Inauguration Weekend
Free-of-charge Sunday BBQ to feature musical acts & activities for children

RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2002

SPRINGFIELD - Festivities surrounding Rod Blagojevich's inauguration as Illinois' next governor will have a distinct family-oriented flavor, offering the opportunity for people of all ages to join in a celebration of the state's history, culture and traditions.

The main event for the weekend will be a free-of-charge family barbeque to be held on the state fairgrounds on Sunday, January 12. The event will feature a wide array of entertainment, including special activities and performances for children. Young people will also have the chance to take part in crafts projects and learn about the state’s history, as actors portraying some of the most famous figures in Illinois history will circulate through the crowd.

More than a half-dozen musical acts will perform during the afternoon event, offering a diverse range of musical tastes. They include: the Prairie Moon Consort, an award-winning bluegrass band from Edwardsville; the University of Illinois Black Chorus, from U of I's Urbana-Champaign campus; the Columbia College Jazz Ensemble, from Chicago; Sonos de Mexico, from Chicago; Bon Temps Roulez, a Cajun-style band from Makanda; the Granite City Swing Band, a 17-piece orchestra from the Metro-East area. Members of the Southwest Illinois Association of Square and Round Dance Clubs will also perform on stage.

The event will be held in the Orr Building on the state fairgrounds. It is scheduled to take place from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M.

"I am looking forward to sharing this special occasion with the families and children of Illinois, and inviting all the people of Illinois to join us," Blagojevich said. "After all, the work that we intend to undertake in office will be designed to help families, provide our children a brighter future and bring the people of Illinois together, and it is fitting that the inaugural events reflect those ideas and goals."

"I am especially pleased that it will represent an opportunity for the young people of Illinois to learn more about the proud history and important lessons of this great state," he said.

Although the Sunday barbeque is free of charge, tickets are required. Tickets will be available to the general public by visiting any Ticketmaster in-store ticket outlet beginning on Friday, Dec. 27. A $1.00 per ticket service charge will apply. Limit six tickets per person. Tickets must be picked up in person. Orders will not be taken by phone or on the Ticketmaster Web site.

The Illinois Association of Museums and Chicago's Museums in the Parks helped make arrangements for the special "just-for-kids" events. The Illinois Arts Alliance also helped coordinate the musical performers.

Blagojevich will be sworn-in as governor on the following day, Monday, January 13. The ceremonies will be held at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, beginning at 11:00 A.M.

As is the case with the Sunday barbeque, a limited quantity of free tickets to the Inaugural Ceremony will also be available to the general public by visiting any Ticketmaster in-store ticket outlet. Limit two tickets per person for the Inaugural Ceremony. Tickets must be picked up in person. Tickets orders will not be taken by phone or on the Ticketmaster Web site.

Blagojevich said that he and his wife, Patti, are looking forward to the weekend's events, and welcome the chance to share it with people from throughout Illinois.

"Patti and I are pleased that so many people will be able to join us at the beginning of this new and exciting time," he said.

Following the inaugural ceremony, Blagojevich and Patrick Quinn, who will be sworn-in as Lt. Governor, will greet members of the public at an "open house" to be held at the Governor's Mansion on Monday afternoon. Further details regarding the swearing-in ceremony, additional inaugural events -- including an interfaith service to be held the morning of inauguration day -- and the governor-elect's plans for traveling to Springfield will be released in the near future.

The Inaugural Ball will be held Monday night in the Exposition Building on the fairgrounds. The public will be able to buy tickets -- for $35 plus service-charges -- beginning Dec. 27 at any Ticketmaster in-store ticket outlet, by calling Ticketmaster or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

Blagojevich added that he was hopeful that the inaugural activities would be especially meaningful for the Springfield area community.

"I am hopeful that people throughout Illinois, no matter where they live, will appreciate the significance of this event, and see it is the beginning of a new day for Illinois. But, it is also a day when the people of Springfield should take special pride in the unique role that they play in our state -- and, an occasion for all us from across Illinois to be grateful to the people of Springfield for representing us every single day of the year," he said.

The key ideas of the next gubernatorial administration are reflected in the theme adopted for the inauguration events: "Joining Together, Moving Forward."


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