One Arroyo Grande family will see history from a front-row seat Friday.
The Kesslers — parents Shannon and Jim, son Nolan and daughter Evangeline — traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“It’s just so dramatic, the change in styles of government,” Shannon Kessler said Thursday in a phone interview from the National Mall, where she and her family were watching some of the first inaugural festivities. “I’m really pleased we get the opportunity to come out and witness this.”
Kessler said the family won tickets to the event through California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office. (Kessler applied for the ticket lottery soon after the November election.)
Tickets to presidential inaugurations are typically distributed for free through members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, though some tickets do end up being scalped and sold to interested attendees. On Thursday, some tickets for reserved seats near the stage were being offered for as much as $19,750, according to the website www.InauguralTickets.com. On Craigslist, sellers advertised tickets in the $100-to-$500 range.
Kessler said the mood at the inaugural events Thursday was “patriotic” and “emotional.” With high school bands and dance troupes performing, she said it felt similar to local small-town festivities.
“I’ve just really enjoyed seeing the patriotism from everyone here,” she said. “It feels almost like a small-town event, like the Strawberry Festival in Arroyo Grande, but you are below the Washington Monument.”
The trip is also giving the Kesslers’ son, an Arroyo Grande High School senior, a chance to view the pomp and circumstance surrounding a changing of the political guard while studying it in school.
“Nolan is actually in AP government right now,” she said. “They are just starting focusing on the presidency, so it’s really a great opportunity for him.”
Kessler noted that although she and her husband hold more conservative ideals and are looking forward to the change in administration, there are some at the events who obviously are less pleased with the president-elect.
So far, though, there have been no obvious clashes between political groups, and everyone seems to be trying to be on their best behavior, she said.
“You can tell there are people here who aren’t happy about it, but everyone is being really polite,” she said. “It’s just such a pivotal event.”