Sunday, November 09, 2008

Election Night

My boss recommended I take a certification program in Chicago, and it happened to be for the first week in November. So, before I left town, I signed up through Obama's website for free tickets to the election night rally in Grant Park. I heard it was a long shot--something like a million requests for 50k tickets, but I was lucky enough to get a free ticket plus one for a guest.

I didn't know anyone in town to go with, so I gave away my ticket on Craigslist (some people were selling them for $500+). My Craigslist buddy (Shana, a schoolteacher from Lakeview) had to enter at the same time as me, so we met up in front of a bar nearby to walk to the park. We got lost, so we walked for an hour...

Once we arrived, we waited in lines to get through the multiple security checks (this took another hour.) Despite the wait, the crowd was enthusiastic.

Inside, the crowd was packed tight. The photo below shows the ticket-holder area--we were halfway to the stage on the right. We stood there for three hours watching CNN's coverage as the polls closed, an experience that was very much like watching TV while standing for three hours surrounded by 100k people. It was very exciting (big cheers at every state announced) but very tiring.

The photo below shows the people without tickets--they were mashed against the fences. I read the final estimate was 200k people total at the rally.
After it became clear that a winner had been decided (but before Obama spoke), we headed out. I'm just not used to being on my feet that long, I guess. Leaving our spot in the crowd took 20 minutes...

I was a disappointed that I couldn't make it the whole night, but I needed a break. I took the L back to my hotel. People on the street were cheering and honking horns. I got back to my room just in time to watch Obama's speech from my bed :-)


Becky said...

Pretty Cool! Part of history!

nanapapava said...

Wow! It was a little longer than the Obama rally you went to before...good thing Sawyer didn't go to this one!