WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Inauguration festivities kicked off at the White House Friday as the president and first lady hosted supporters ahead of Sunday's official swearing-in.
"As is commonplace with past Administrations of both parties, the president and first lady today [Friday] hosted friends and supporters at the White House in advance of the president's inauguration weekend. The event was paid for by the Presidential Inaugural Committee," the White House said in response to reporters' questions about a benefactors' brunch and reception.
The official swearing-in will be held Sunday in accordance with the constitutional deadline, with ceremonial festivities, including two balls, scheduled for Monday.
Supporters say they're just as excited about President Barack Obama's second inauguration as they were his first, The Washington Post reported.
Patricia Leake, a restaurant management consultant from Raleigh, N.C., told the Post she plans to travel to Washington to attend the festivities. She said she attended the first inauguration as well.
"There is no way I'm not going to be there again," Leake said. "I don't expect it to be as historical as the first one. But it will be exciting, and it will show the faith we still have in him."
Washington author and poet E. Ethelbert Miller said Obama's re-election is as significant as when he was first elected in 2008.
"As an African-American, what you really got happy about was you realized white people could go and elect a black president not just once, but twice," Miller said.
"When President Obama stands at the lectern and speaks, he is speaking into the past 50 years to [civil rights leader] Dr. [Martin Luther] King," said Aaron Jenkins, 31. And Dr. King "50 years ago spoke in the future to Barack Obama."