Big crowd expected at inauguration

Gov.-elect Palin to be sworn in today

Posted: Monday, December 04, 2006

FAIRBANKS - Bagpipes and a brass band will be part of the festivities when Gov.-elect Sarah Palin is sworn into office today.

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Organizers in Fairbanks said they expect a full house for the inauguration at the city's civic center, the Carlson Center.

"It is an historic event," said Ramona Reeves, who ran Palin's Fairbanks office during the campaign.

The doors to the Carlson Center will open at about 10:30 a.m., with the ceremony scheduled to start an hour later. A reception will follow from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Organizers have reserved 1,600 seats for school students. That leaves about 3,400 for everyone else.

"The governor-elect has invited the public and hopes to see them there," said Jennifer Yuhas, assistant to Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker.

Among the dignitaries attending will be four delegates to the Alaska Constitutional Convention, which began in 1955 at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Former Gov. Walter Hickel plans to attend. Former Juneau Mayor Dennis Egan, whose father, William Egan, led the constitutional convention and was elected Alaska's first state governor, will attend. Both will speak.

Palin, a Republican, said she chose Fairbanks for her swearing-in to honor the constitutional convention delegates and to celebrate the Alaska Constitution on the 50th anniversary of its ratification in 1956.

Palin and Lt. Gov.-elect Sean Parnell and their families will join the four delegates and university officials this morning for a private event at Signers' Hall on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

Alaska musher Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1985, will act as mistress of ceremonies.

Superior Court Judge Niesje Steinkruger will administer the oath of office to Palin and Parnell.

The Fairbanks Red Hackle Pipe Band and the 9th Army Band will play at the ceremony. Adele Morgan, a longtime Palin friend, will sing the national anthem.

Gov. Frank Murkowski will not attend the ceremony. John Manly, his spokesman, said Murkowski is traveling to Texas and New York City.



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