Toby Keith. Buddy Guy. Bruce Rauner. They’re all appearing at the Prairie Capital Convention Center today and tonight. Rauner is sworn in at midday, as are the other constitutional officers.
When outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn took office in 2009, he took the oath of office quickly, in the Capitol, after Rod Blagojevich was impeached. So the festivities for Rauner would be the first ceremony for a new Illinois governor since Blagoevich’s first inaugural in 2003.
A concert, featuring country’s Keith and the blues’ Guy, takes the place of an inaugural ball. There’s also an “Illinois Is Back” expo outside the convention center, under a tent.
“We’re very excited this year for the inauguration,” says the acting director of Springfield’s convention bureau, Gina Gemberling. “We get to show off that renovation” at the recently refurbished convention center.
There’s also a chance to meet the new first couple; Bruce and Diana Rauner will host a reception at the Old State Capitol in the afternoon.