WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) – Big crowds are down the Jersey Shore ahead of President Donald Trump’s rally on Tuesday night. Some have been in line since Saturday night, hoping to get inside the Wildwoods Convention Center.
Chants and blankets kept supporters warm outside the convention center as thousands of people flooded the shore town for his Keep America Great rally.
Duke Reale, from Galloway Township, is so determined to see President Trump in Wildwood that he arrived two days early so he could be first in line. Soon, dozens showed up right beside him.
“These people are amazing, I’m telling you. They all love the president, we’re proud of this country and we’re here to support Jeff Van Drew,” Reale said.
Those who wanted to ensure they make it inside the rally arrived over the weekend.
“I been here for two days. It’s been a lot of fun, wonderful people,” said Tony Zeibekis, or Wallingford, Pennsylvania.
The convention center holds about 7,400 people, so seats are first-come, first-served.
For those who don’t get a seat inside, there will be jumbotrons outside.
Trump campaign officials this week announced 175,000 people requested tickets for the rally, making it the president’s most sought-after event to date.
City officials expected 20,000 to 30,000 people to visit the shore town.
“This is January, man. The only thing that’s supposed to be in this parking lot are seagulls,” former Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said.
There will also be a counter-rally on the boardwalk a few blocks away.
“We’re just really trying to project a united grassroots force against the Trump administration and his hateful rhetoric — the corruption, the misogyny, the racism,” Shayla Woolfort from the progressive group Cape May County Indivisible said.
Wildwood officials say security for the event will be tight, and they hope the president’s visit will be an overall positive opportunity for the shore town.
“This is the last week of January and typically all we have here is a lot of seagulls and locals,” Mayor Pete Byron said.
Wildwood is ready for @POTUS today! Air Force One will arrive at the AC Airport at 5:35 PM. Expect major delays for the motorcade and keep in mind Delsea Drive is CLOSED in Cape May County for emergency repairs. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/c54oO57GTN
— Chandler Lutz (@ChandlerCBS3) January 28, 2020
Click here to see a list of items that will not be allowed at the convention center.
CBS3’s Cleve Bryan contributed to this report.