Preparations Underway for Romney-Ryan Rally in Augusta
Preparations are underway at Augusta Expoland for the big Republican rally tonight. The rally is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.
It has been six days since the venue learned that it would host the marquee event with GOP nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and country musician Trace Adkins.
A large crowd is expected to pack the fairgrounds in Fishersville, which means a whole host of challenges for the venue and public safety crews.
Public safety crews in Augusta County and far beyond are bracing for huge crowds and traffic at the rally. The event is expected to draw roughly 10,000 people and the eyes of the national media. Hundreds of people - from law enforcement to sound technicians - are scrambling to pull it off.
Contractors, under the direction of Romney staff, have been building a mini-fairgrounds. It is complete with a fully lighted and wired stage, several tents, crowd control fences, and dozens of portable toilets.
Tickets for the event are free and most are available online, so it is a challenge to get a close estimate for the crowds.
Augusta Expoland manager John Scott stated, "I'm guessing that it'll be like Saturday night at the county fair, the biggest night of the week for the fair, and that draws about 10,000 folks. We have plenty of overflow seating on the hill and there will not be a bad seat in the house."
The Augusta County Sheriff's Office hosted a briefing on traffic control, security and public safety Wednesday. About 75 officers from Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta will work the event, in addition to Virginia State Police and Secret Service agents.
The Augusta County sheriff says he has been told to be prepared for up to 15,000 people and the thousands of cars they will bring with them.
We will be carrying the victory rally live on NBC29 and live streaming the event here on NBC29.com.
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