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Free Concert for Kids to Be Held on Inauguration Eve

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 19, 2008 11:53 AM

Kids will rock at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced today that a free concert for children will be held at the Verizon Center on Jan. 19, the night before Obama gets sworn in as the nation's 44th president.

The concert marks is another effort to include events appealing to a wide range of people during the five days of inaugural festivities that will begin with Obama's train ride from Philadelphia to Washington Jan. 17 and end on Jan. 21 with a traditional prayer service.

"Sunday's welcome event and Monday's concert will continue President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden's commitment to hold an Inauguration that is open, accessible and reflects a spirit of unity for Americans of all ages," the inaugural committee said in a statement.

The committee also announced that a welcome ceremony scheduled for Jan. 18 will be held at the Lincoln Memorial to honor the 16th president.

There will also be a daytime event on the National Mall Jan. 19 to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Park Service assistant police chief Sal Lauro said Thursday.

The inauguration has taken on a Lincoln theme, with Obama following his long-ago predecessor in the Illinois Senate in traveling to Washington via train. But the inauguration is also shaping up to be Clinton-esque.

President Bill Clinton, like Obama, attracted celebrities, and he created a five-day celebration that included a concert on the National Mall the Sunday before the 1993 inauguration.

An estimated 300,000 people attended Clinton's Sunday welcome, called "America's Reunion on the Mall" and featuring Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, LL Cool J, Kathleen Battle and others. Clinton also held two children's programs.

President George Bush also had a free inaugural concert that included Charlotte Church and Ricky Martin.

There were no immediate details about who would perform at the children's concert.

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