The air of excitement and anticipation can be felt on the streets of Washington, filled with so many people who have never been there before.
Monday, all eyes will be on the west side of the Capitol building.
The sound checks and rehearsals are done, and the platform awaits the President.
But the person perhaps prepping most is the man who'll run the show, Sen. Charles Schumer.
"I think there are fourteen times when I get up and introduce someone and have to sit down and just getting that right. Um, remember what happened to Justice Roberts last time so I'm making sure I practice," said Schumer.
Organizers hope the flubs are history as they prepare for a crowd that could be a third the size of last time's almost two million, a record that overwhelmed the National Mall.
And after the chaos of 2009, the inaugural committee came out with a smartphone app to tell people how to get from here to there and around delays.
They're hoping to avoid another "purple tunnel of doom," where thousands of purple ticket holders were trapped in a tunnel for hours, missing the inauguration.
Lessons learned: that tunnel will be closed. The biggest obstacle to overcome this year may be the air of toxic partisanship that has engulfed Washington.
"Most people suspend that kind of partisan rancor for the inaugural for those special events. The problem, John is, that by the next dawn, they're right back to fighting with each other again," said former Sen. Evan Bayh.
After a hard fought election and tough battles in congress, this inauguration draws comparisons to 2001, when tensions ran high over George Bush taking the oath.
"I suspect it will be a lot like the atmosphere that George W Bush experienced in his first term of office. It was a little bit chilly and cold," said Andy Card, former Bush Chief of Staff.
The joint committee will do its best to warm up the proceedings, particularly at the inaugural luncheon where the President and Joe Biden will be given crystal vases.
But with Mr. Obama seated with John Boehner and Harry Reid, red meat may not be limited to their plates.
"I half expect them to have removed all the sharp objects from the table and for each side to have a food taster present. Joking aside, look I think they'll be collegial with each other. That's what's expected of them," said Bayh.
Senator Schumer said he hopes that for the nation's sake, the two parties can find a way to come together and build a better relationship in the years ahead.