Since Georgetown students returned to the Hilltop over a week ago, many have been scrambling to score tickets to the various inaugural events happening during the long weekend.

any of the inauguration hopefuls who could not manage to obtain a ticket from their congressman for the swearing-in ceremony decided to go the parade instead. While much of the route will be open to the public, 5,000 lucky spectators will be able to avoid some of the hectic atmosphere of the crowd below and view the parade from bleacher seats.

Tickets for the bleachers went on sale last Friday at 1 p.m. on Ticketmaster’s Web site. The $25 tickets were sold out in under a minute.

Soon after, sellers started appearing on Craigslist, offering to sell the tickets for prices ranging from $250 to $500 per ticket. Some promised tickets to the highest bidder. Creative buyers included one orthodontist who offered braces – an estimated cost of $4,000 – in exchange for tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.

Rebecca Pawlowski (COL ’99), the Destination DC director of communications, said that tickets for bleachers along the route of the inaugural parade have historically been for sale, but the high level of interest in the 2009 parade is unprecedented.

“This year is unique in that the vast majority of Pennsylvania Avenue is open to access without bleacher seats, creating more opportunities for the public,” she said.

The parade route was extended to accommodate the larger-than-usual crowds expected for Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Though Pawlowski says that the number of parade-goers on Pennsylvania Avenue will be limited to 250,000 to 300,000, she estimates that many more people will be watching from offices and other buildings in the area.

The official parade starts at 2:30 p.m. Ticket holders for bleacher seats must be seated by 1 p.m. and those planning to stand along the parade route will have to arrive much earlier in order to guarantee themselves a spot within view of the route. Security checkpoints for the parade area will be open between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for the general public.

Georgetown students will be among the many vying to see the parade from the ground. Many of them were unsuccessful in obtaining parade tickets, while many other students had no idea that tickets for the parade were even available.

“I had been looking up events for inauguration online and assumed many would require tickets, but I didn’t think that the parade, a public event, would need tickets,” said Lauren Reese (COL ’12)

Students who have been unsuccessful so far can get up early Tuesday morning to join the expected 1 to 2 million other spectators on the National Mall.

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