CHATHAM — Kimberly Brooks may not be able to travel to Washington, D.C., on Monday to watch the inaugural of President Barack Obama, but she still plans to witness history repeat itself at a free viewing party on the South Side.
"I will be there with our president in spirit, but I will be here (in Chicago) watching him take the oath of office," Brooks, a 34-year old office worker, said.
Brooks will be taking in the affair at the Chatham 14 Theaters at 210 W. 87th St., which is offering tickets to the viewing on a first-come, first-serve basis.
"We have banners posted up to let our customers know about the viewing party," the theater's manager, Venish Johnson-White, said. "Everybody cannot go to Washington, D.C., but would still like to experience the moment when the president is sworn back into office, and we want to provide that experience to the community."
Tickets for the free event on Jan. 21 will be handed out on beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the theater. There is a limit of two tickets per person, and 600 tickets are available, according to Johnson-White. The viewing party is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, and free refreshments will be served.
Moe Wahab, 31, said he’s looking forward to watching the inauguration on the theater’s large screen.
"I was not able to watch the last one four years ago because I had to work, but this time I am off work and plan to watch the swearing in ceremony," he said. "I have a flat-screen TV at home but I'd rather watch it on a wider screen with surround sound."
With limited seating available everyone will not be able to attend the viewing party so the Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave., is also hosting a free viewing party as part of its Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Celebration, said Amanda Gregory, a spokeswoman for the youth center.
A total of 600 seats are available inside its auditorium and doors open at 9 a.m. Advance tickets are not necessary but Gregory urges those planning to attend to arrive early to ensure they get a seat. A complimentary breakfast prepared by the center's culinary students will also be served.