A presidential visit, a home show and protests: What to expect this weekend at the Farm Show

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hosts a campaign rally at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center on April 21, 2016. (WHTM)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – With just two days left before President Trump’s visit to the Midstate, plans are ramping up.

It’s going to be a busy and hectic day around the Farm Show Complex, but how bad the headaches will be trying to navigate the area is still not clear.

ABC27 has been trying to find out about any road closures or increased presence from Harrisburg police for a few days now, and the city hasn’t released anything — because they’re still waiting to hear from the White House about how they’d like to handle it.

Regardless, you can count on it being tricky with so much going on.

“You’re never ready for a show,” George White, of White Log Homes, said as he finished setting up his vendor booth inside the Farm Show Complex Thursday. “You just take it as it comes.”

Dozens of vendors like White spent Thursday getting ready to open the Log and Timber Home Show Friday. It runs through the weekend, and Saturday they’ll have presidential company.

“I just found out last evening on Facebook it was posted,” Mary Mahosky said while she set up her own vendor booth. She’s excited Trump will be at the Farm Show with them.

“I was able to get tickets, so we’re hoping to go see President Trump after our log show,” she said.

Click here to register for tickets to the rally.

“They’re going to come in, they’re going to do their thing, and again, the disruptions have been very minimal,” show manager Eric Johnson said of the political event.

He found out about the visit officially Monday; there have been a couple small changes — show attendants should part in the Maclay Street parking lot, and there will be no admission past 5 p.m. Saturday — but Johnson said the show will go on as planned.

“If there’s protesters here,” he said, “they’re not protesting log- and timber-frame homes.”

There will certainly be protesters.

“What we’re going to do is set up a base camp here all day,” Chris Sinnieck said, standing at the open space at the corner of 7th and Maclay streets.

Harrisburg Socialist Party organizers, including Sinnieck and Max Neely, will hold a community picnic there starting at noon and going until 10 p.m.

Small groups will make the short walk across the bridge to the Farm Show, Sinnieck said.

“If you want to just chill out and have a picnic, lay out a blanket, you can do that,” Neely, another co-organizer, said. “If you want to go in the streets and march with your signs, you can do that as well.”

That group is expecting a good turnout, with people coming to the area from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and New York, Sinnieck said.

“We’re just here to use our First Amendment rights and our civil liberties and enjoy our free speech,” he said.

A collection of about 30 groups, organized by Keystone Progress, will march from 7th and Forster streets down to the complex at 6 p.m., where they will combine with another coalition of protesters to demonstrate there.

They’re expecting at least 500 people to show up, Keystone Progress executive director Michael Morrill said.

Mahosky hopes the protests don’t disrupt the home show; she’s there to sell — and she’s sold on seeing Trump.

“It kind of worked out great,” she said. “Never thought I’d get an opportunity to see him in person.”

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