Governor-elect Ralph Northam, a Democrat and Eastern Shore native, will take the oath of office to become Virginia's 73rd governor on Saturday, Jan. 13, at noon.
The inauguration celebrations in Richmond includes a parade, a ball, an open house at the Executive Mansion, and even a special Virginia-made beer brewed just for the occasion.
The oath of office will be administered by retired Circuit Judge Glen Tyler, also from the Eastern Shore. Tyler also administered the oath to Northam when he became lieutenant governor.
The ceremony is free and open to the public, but due to limited seating tickets were available on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who requested them no later than Dec. 22.
Immediately following the ceremony, the 2018 Inaugural Parade will start. The parade route will move east from Grace Street and circumnavigate Capitol Square. The Inaugural Parade is free and open to the public, and tickets are not required.
"'The Way Ahead,' the theme of Governor-elect Ralph Northam’s inauguration, is reflected in the diversity of the parade participants, which include Bolivian dancers, the VMI Corps of Cadets, the fastest oyster shucker in the Commonwealth, and a group of 26 fiddlers," according to a news release from the Northam Inaugural Committee.
Representing the Eastern Shore in the parade will be an entry from NASA.
"NASA Wallops and NASA Langley have teamed up to represent NASA in the Governor’s inauguration parade," said spokesman Jeremy Eggers.
"We plan to have an Education/STEM-focus; to that end, we’ll be largely represented by students who have participated in STEM programs, such as the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars and the Virginia Space Coast Scholars, at our facilities over the years," Eggers said.
The Inaugural Committee on Dec. 21 announced the parade participants, including:
Statewide: Virginia Teachers of the Year, Equality VA, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia National Guard
Central Virginia and Southside: Virginia Preschool Initiative, JMU Marching Royal Dukes, The Pride: Chinese Lion Dancers of UVA, Virginia State University Trojan Explosion Marching Band, Cultural Center of India, Charlottesville Cardinals Wheelchair Basketball Team, St. Andrews Legion Pipes and Drums, The George Washington High School Marching Eagles
Southwest Virginia: Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail Fiddlers, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Regimental Band: The Highty Tighties
Eastern Shore: NASA
Northern Neck: Deborah Pratt: Fastest Oyster Shucker in Virginia
Northern Virginia: SemperK9 Assistance Dogs, Freedom High School Marching Band, All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, Comite Pro Bolivia
Tidewater/Hampton Roads: Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Hampton Roads Pride
Valley: Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets, Fishburne Military School Corps of Cadets, Virginia Women's Institute of Leadership and Mary Baldwin University Marching Band.
Ralph and Pam Northam will host an open house at the Executive Mansion after the parade, from 2-4 p.m. Guests are invited to enter the Executive Mansion at the
Capitol Square entrance and will have the opportunity to tour the mansion and greet the new first family.
“Ralph, Aubrey, Wes and I are looking forward to welcoming Virginians into our new home for the first time,” said Pamela Northam.
“The Executive Mansion is not only a treasure that represents the Commonwealth’s rich history and the vital progress we have made, but it is truly a home that belongs to every Virginian," Pamela Northam said, adding, "We hope that for the next four years, the Executive Mansion will exemplify what The Way Ahead is all about — serving others, educating our children, and working together as one unified Commonwealth to create opportunities for all Virginians, no matter who you are or where you’re from."
The Inaugural Ball will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Main Street Station in Richmond. Those interested in attending the Inaugural Ball can purchase tickets online.
The Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Ashland has brewed a special beer to celebrate Northam's inauguration.
Called InaugurALE, it is the official beer for the occasion.
Northam is the first Virginia governor to have a custom-made beer for his inauguration, according to a news release.
InaugurALE is a Belgian-style blonde ale. All the ingredients used in InaugurALE are grown in Virginia.
"The grain was grown in the Northern Neck and malted at Copper Fox, the hops were grown at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and the yeast was harvested at Agriberry Farm and handled by the scientists at Randolph Macon College," the release said.
“We are thrilled and honored to create a beer for Governor-elect Northam’s inauguration,” said Chris Ray, Center of the Universe Brewing Company founder.
“By brewing this beer with 100 percent Virginia grown ingredients, we hope to show the synergy between the Virginia craft beer manufacturers and our Virginia agricultural partners. We are excited to have an incoming governor who will continue to promote small business growth in our sector and beyond, so we can continue to drive employment growth in the brewing and supporting industries in Virginia," Ray said.
“It is small businesses like the Center of the Universe Brewing Company that exemplify our new Virginia economy — which is why I was so excited when they offered to brew InaugurALE for my upcoming inauguration,” Northam said.
“Our inauguration will be a celebration of a unified and diverse Virginia that works together and lifts each other up, and we are fortunate enough to have great small businesses right here in the Commonwealth like the Center of the Universe Brewing Company that lead by example. I hope Virginians are looking forward to sharing a 100 percent born-and-bred Virginia beer with one another as much as I am during the inaugural weekend,” he said.
InaugurALE will be available throughout the inaugural weekend in Richmond, and will also be served in a limited quantity at the Center of the Universe Brewing Company.
Information about the inauguration can be found HERE.