As Barack Obama prepares for his historic inauguration as America's first black president, here are some facts about past and present inaugurations:
Mr Obama will be using Abraham Lincoln's inaugural bible to take his oath of office.
Dwight Eisenhower's 1953 parade was covered by a 24-year-old reporter on the Washington Times-Herald as the "Inquiring Camera Girl". Her name was Jacqueline Bouvier, eventually to become Jackie Kennedy.
The shortest inauguration speech was delivered by George Washington in 1793 (133 words) and the longest by William H Harrison in 1841 (nearly two hours long and 10,000 words). He delivered the speech without a coat or hat on a bitterly cold day and died a month later from pneumonia while in office.
Tickets to the first-ever inauguration ball in 1809 for James Madison cost 4 dollars, which would scarcely buy you a cocktail today.
Lyndon B Johnson was the only president to take the oath of office from a woman, the Federal District Judge, Sarah Hughes. He was also the only president to be sworn in on an aeroplane, taking office immediately after John Kennedy's assassination.
A temporary wooden structure built for Ulysses Grant's second inauguration ball in 1873 was turned into an icebox by the freezing weather. The food froze, guests danced in their coats, the musicians' violin strings snapped and 100 canaries brought in to provide "pleasure sounds" froze to death in their cages.
George Bush will be hoping the same fate does not befall him as happened to the outgoing President Franklin Pierce in 1857. The swearing-in was delayed for 20 minutes because officials forgot to pick him up at his hotel and had to go and fetch him.
An attempt before Richard Nixon's inauguration parade in 1973 to clear the route of pigeons went disastrously wrong. A chemical called Roost-No-More was applied to the trees. It was supposed to make the birds' feet itch so they would not stay in the trees. Instead, the birds ate the repellent, keeled over and left the prestigious Pennsylvania Avenue covered with dead and dying birds which had to be hurriedly swept away.
The great poet Robert Frost, then aged 86, was unable to read the new poem he had written for John Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. He was blinded by the bright sunlight. Instead he recited a poem which he had written years before and, thankfully, had memorised.
"Tricky" Richard Nixon took the oath of office with his hand on two bibles, while Teddy Roosevelt didn't put his hand on anything.