Ward Room
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Weather Dampens Emanuel Party

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Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel takes part in several of 28 service projects throughout the city.

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All morning, weather threatened to put a damper on Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's 'Day of Service.'  But mother nature held off until shortly after midday.

It was long enough for more than 3,000 volunteers, including several members of Emanuel's upcoming administration, to take part in 28 service projects around the city.

But a steady rain later kept many away from Grant Park's Butler Field, where the band "Chicago" put on a free concert.  Concert-goers were nearly guaranteed a front-row seat for the show.

Still, Emanuel and his family turned out, though covered by ponchos.  The mayor-elect tweeted a photo of him enjoying the show.

"Watching Chicago perform at the #inaugural concert in Grant Park. Come join us," he wrote.

The family didn't  have to worry about getting wet Saturday evening.  The Emanuels put on their dancing shoes for the Inaugural Ball at Venue One.  Former White House Pals David Axelrod and Desiree Rogers and  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made appearances at the party.

Tickets for the shindig sold as  high as $50,000, but with that price came four guaranteed seats for Monday's Inauguration. The donors are helping to underwrite the cost of the weekend events.

Earlier Saturday, Emanuel was all about getting his hands dirty.

Despite very chilly temperatures, the mayor-elect and his wife, Amy Rule, along with their three children spent the morning taking part in the "Day of Service.'

"This is symbolic of weeding out corruption," Emanuel said as he plucked weeds from a garden at 65th and Woodlawn.

Joining him were new City Clerk Susanna Mendoza and Treasurer Stephanie Neely.  As evidence to the changing of the guard, one of Mayor Richard Daley's bodyguards, who was with him on the 5th floor on Friday, is now with Emanuel.

With an inaugural theme of "We Are One City," Emanuel is emphasizing that Chicagoans should work together. 

"It's not just about government. It's about service," he said during a stop in Chicago's West Garfield neighborhood.  "The most important thing is not getting in the way of neighbors doing something for themselves."

He spoke of quenching food deserts and said the planting of trees and flowers there is a chance "from the bottom up to make sure their community eats healthy."

ChicagoTogether.org: The 2011 Inaugural Celebration

 

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