Supporters, protesters make final preparations for President Trump’s rally

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Saturday President Trump is set to celebrate 100 days in office right here in the Midstate.

Final preparations were underway at the Farm Show Complex as supporters and opponents planned to welcome the president in their own ways.

“Thank you all for coming to help us welcome President Trump to Harrisburg,” Maura Quint said outside the capitol Friday afternoon.

Standing next to a giant inflatable chicken with hair that resembles the president’s, she meant it tongue-in-cheek; Quint is on the executive committee for the Tax March.

“We’ve brought Donny the Tax March chicken to help us say, ‘Cluck you,'” she said.

It’s a prop the protesters have used before, calling the president — you guessed it — chicken for not releasing his tax returns. The tax marchers are one of close to 40 groups that will march from 7th and Forster streets down to the Farm Show Complex Saturday.

“We felt very much like he was using Pennsylvania as a way to try and highlight some success that he has not actually had,” Quint said.

“It’s still the United States of America. People still have a First Amendment right,” Dauphin County Republican Committee chairman David Feidt said.

Feidt and other Republicans in the region and beyond have been ramping up excitement all week for Trump’s visit.

“It’s an exciting time for a young guy like me to have a Republican president coming to Dauphin County,” Feidt said. “It’s a big deal.”

Although there are bigger cities in which he could have celebrated his first 100 days in office, he sees this selection as a nod to the industrial towns that once built America.

“Just a few miles down the road, we have a steel plant,” he said. “You know, there’s a lot of people around here connect with that.”

Friday workers power-washed the front of the New Holland Arena; PEMA brought in outdoor lights and cameras.

If you’re coming to the rally, enter the parking lot through the Wildwood Park Drive entrance. Expect metal detectors and possibly other search techniques.

You can’t bring food or bottled water into the arena, or anything else that can be used as a projectile or a weapon. And probably no homemade signs will be allowed in, either.

The City of Harrisburg announced Friday afternoon Maclay Street will close between Cameron and 7th streets starting at 4 p.m. Other streets may close as necessary.

The Secret Service will also temporarily close down roads along the presidential motorcade’s route from the airport to the Farm Show, but due to safety concerns the agency is not releasing what the route will be. They don’t expect to shut down streets long-term.

State, local, and capitol police will provide security under the authority of the Secret Service.

“Hopefully everybody is respectful and safe,” Feidt said.

Quint, speaking for the large group of protesters — possibly hundreds strong — marching to the arena, said they’re not looking to start any fights.

“We are merely trying to make a presence known, a visible presence known, that we object to his presence here,” she said.

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