BY KATE MILEWSKI
TRAVERSE CITY — Bitter cold and blowing snow did not deter dozens of area residents from experiencing President Barack Obama's second inauguration by way of the State Theatre's big screen.
The State has hosted a free live screening of the inauguration since it reopened, and added the historic event to their roster of Martin Luther King Jr. Day events.
"One of our missions here is to be the town hall for Traverse City," said Deb Lake, executive director for the Traverse City Film Festival. "Bringing people together for events is really important to all of us. People enjoy watching important civic events together."
Spectators said that's exactly why they turned to the downtown Traverse City theatre on Monday.
"You really just feel like part of a community here," said Marley Navin, of Traverse City. "There's this camaraderie."
Some attendees have seen inaugurations in person, but enjoyed Monday's event here.
"The inauguration is a uniting event," said Sarah Mihalus, visiting from East Lansing. She attended Obama's first inauguration in Washington, D.C. in 2009, "but seeing it at the State is a lot warmer and less claustrophobic."
Audience members in the theatre made the most of watching the event on the big screen; they applauded the speakers and stood for the National Anthem, much like their fellow Americans on the Washington Mall.
Obama's inaugural address excited many of the audience members.
"Obama is just so articulate," said Tamsyn Mihalus, who came up from East Lansing with her daughter, Sarah. "I get choked up. He's clearly very intelligent, he doesn't talk down to people. He speaks in a way that is universally appealing."
Traverse City resident Craig Ensfield also wanted to see the president's address.
"I wanted to see the inauguration and I don't have a TV," he said. "The State is a special place to be."
Seeing the historic event at the historic theatre added a special touch to the moment for some.
"It's the inauguration, you have to see it," Ed Tillitson, of Traverse City, said. "And if you don't see it at the State, you don't see it."