The preparations are wrapping up in downtown Tallahassee for Tuesday's Inauguration of Governor elect Charlie Crist.
The Tallahassee Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says it's expecting a record breaking number of visitors during the four day period. 12,000 people will start arriving in town during the next few days and the City wants to make sure it's providing them an experience they won't forget. Sharon Liggett, President of the Visitors Bureau said, "We always rolled out a small red carpet, this year we're rolling out a large red carpet." It's been eight years since Florida's welcomed a new governor and for the city that stands at the center of it all, it's an opportunity not to be missed. Michelle Bono, with the City of Tallahassee said, "What we know is really the eyes of the state, the nation kind of turn on Tallahassee and so everyone is paying attention to what's happening here. It's our chance to roll out the red carpet, welcome the new governor, welcome the incoming and returning legislators." The community has come together in an effort never seen before in the Capital City to welcome a new governor. The city, Leon County, the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau are going all out to ensure the 12 thousand visitors expected to converge on Tallahassee, leave with an experience they won't forget and maybe even come back. Liggett said, "I think that sometimes we forget we really do make history everyday here in Tallahassee. Because we live here, we sort of go day to day and don't realize the significance of these important events."
Workers spent Friday afternoon putting the finishing touches on the stage at the Old Capitol where Governor-elect Charlie Crist will take the oath of office, Tuesday at noon. Across the street at the Visitors Bureau, thousands of welcome bags were finished off, headed to Tallahassee Regional Airport where visitors will get the first taste of Tallahassee's hospitality. A welcoming crew will man the airport starting this weekend and the terminal is already decked out in welcome signs and pictures of Inaugurations of Florida's past. Liggett said, "We're welcoming everyone to town." You don't have to wait until Tuesday to celebrate. Tallahassee officials say many downtown businesses and restaurants will be open on Monday, New Years day.
There will be several road closures on Tuesday in and around the downtown area. City officials advise that if you can, avoid the area during the morning and afternoon hours on Tuesday.
For a rundown of Tuesday's events and for road closures, go to the "As Seen On WCTV" link.