Vermonters celebrate inauguration of Obama

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(Host) Vermonters who weren’t in Washington today had plenty of opportunities for inaugural parties of their own.

In Burlington, several hundred people gathered at Nectar’s restaurant.

VPR’s Ross Sneyd was there.

Sound of kitchen in background.

(Sneyd) Nectar’s is an institution with a celebrated menu item.

(Nectar’s) “This is ready. Small fry, large gravy fry, open face turkey, round table.

(Sneyd) Fries, aside, the partygoers were there for one reason as a culmination of a long and hopeful political campaign.

Like many others, Christopher Allen wanted to be among friends…

(Allen) “I wanted to watch this with people. I didn’t want to be at home watching this on my little TV. I think this is a moment where I really feel like you need to be with other people. You need to celebrate this in a group setting.”

(Sneyd) President Obama was an inspiration for Harry Marchetti and his friends. He called the inauguration “the most exciting thing that’s ever happened in our lives.”

(Marchetti) “Because it’s a fresh hope. It’s a fresh hope for our country. It’s that simple.”

(Sneyd) The sense of unity – and history in the making – inside and outside the restaurant was palpable. Before Barack Obama even departed the White House for the Capitol, a dozen or more stood outside hoping to get in.

(Capacity) “Hi, everybody. We’re at capacity. There’s the TV screen but there’s no sound out here. You can go to City Hall. They have a big-screen TV.”

(Sneyd) Inside, cheers went up at every glimpse of Obama. Jeers greeted views of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

But when President-elect Obama walked up to the podium to raise his right hand and take the oath of office, the crowd fell silent.

(Oath) “I Barack H. Obama …”

(Sneyd) Once Obama had been sworn in and given his inaugural address …

(Speech) end of Obama speech, applause and cheers.

(Sneyd) … the bar erupted. And the emotions flowed.

Margaret Gunderson was in the crowd.

(Gunderson) “It’s just breathtaking and it’s such an honor to observe this and be a part of this and see this man carry forth American dreams.”

(Sneyd) And after that, the celebration promised to continue for some time…

Champagne cork pops.

(Sneyd) For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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