A guide to Chicago’s mayoral inauguration festivities

A guide to Chicago’s mayoral inauguration festivities
Getty/Scott Olson
A guide to Chicago’s mayoral inauguration festivities
Getty/Scott Olson

A guide to Chicago’s mayoral inauguration festivities

Rahm Emanuel will be sworn into office on Monday, May 16th as Chicago’s 46th mayor. Emanuel, of course, succeeds the retiring Richard M. Daley, who has held office for 22 years.

Daley’s 22-year mayoralty not only means that he’s the longest-serving mayor in Chicago’s history (outlasting even his father, Richard J. Daley), it also means it’s been a really long time since anyone in this city has experienced a mayoral inaugural celebration.

Not to worry. We’ve published the list of official inaugural festivities below for your reference.

The events kick off on Saturday, with a series of events aimed at celebrating Chicago’s neighborhoods and its culture. According to the Emanuel campaign, the theme for the inauguration will be togetherness.”

Then on Monday, Emanuel will take oath of office during a ceremony at Millennium Park.

WBEZ will feature live coverage of the event on-air at 91.5FM and on line here at wbez.org.

Sat, May 14th


The weekend kicks off with a city-wide Day of Service. The Mayor-elect, City Clerk-elect, and Treasurer will join forces with Chicagoans to perform service activities in their neighborhoods and across the city. The Chicago Park District, Friends of the Chicago River, One Good Deed Chicago and Chicago Cares are among the organizations coordinating service projects.


Free family concert at Butler Field in Grant Park. The group, Chicago, will headline, but the event will also feature other artists performing, including JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. Bring picnics and lawn chairs but no alcohol or glass will be permitted. A ticket will be required for entry, but the admission is free. Tickets are available at www.chicagotogether.org

Mon, May 16th


Official inauguration ceremony at the Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park, featuring the swearing in of the Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, City Clerk-elect Susana Mendoza, Treasurer Stephanie Neely, and City Council Festivities will begin at 10:30am, though by statute Emanuel won’t take the oath of office until Noon. This event is open to the public.


Mayor-elect Emanuel will host an open house on the 5th floor of City Hall from 2pm-4pm following the swearing-in ceremony. In keeping with mayoral tradition, Chicago’s 46th mayor will greet his constituents and members of the public.

Emanuel named an inauguration committee to plan the festivities - and raised private funds to cover the costs. According to the Chicago Tribune, some donors contributed $50,000 toward the cause. Though Emanuel is not required to do so, he pledged to release the names of the donors after the inauguration takes place.