MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. – The President of the United States of America is coming to Lycoming County.
Excitement, panic, hysteria, and pride followed this announcement. How on earth would little ol’ Montoursville be able to handle the expected mass thousands rushing to celebrate (or protest) President Trump’s coming?
In the days leading to the event, Facebook was a battle zone of supporters vs. opponents of the MAGA clan. Adversaries to the idea of crowds invading the normally peaceful Montoursville area chimed in with their thoughts of traffic and parking problems.
A scheduled time and place for protesters was announced.
The Bikers for Trump stated they would be there to show their support.
“…[B]ikers from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states [come] from all directions to be a part of history and show support for President Trump,” stated Louie Byer who participated in the motorcycle ride.
Multiple stands selling Trump merchandise began appearing around the Montoursville area a few days before the rally. Along Route 220 North, a man who travels ahead of Trump rallies in his camper set up a tent with Trump merchandise.
Pamela Lyons, who stopped to pick up a MAGA shirt, stated she was excited to attend the rally but was not going to wait in line as early as some others.
The rally was set to take place at the Williamsport Regional Airport at 7 p.m. Buses were arranged to pick people up from the Lycoming Mall starting at 9 a.m. to take them to the venue. However, it seemed 9 a.m. was not early enough as many commented on Facebook they would be lined up at the door as early 6 a.m. or even the day before.
Tickets were available for free online if one entered their name, email, and phone number. But, apparently, the ticket did not guarantee your spot.
I “reserved” two tickets, one for me and one for a friend, and decided to attempt to attend. With at least 10,000 people interested, less than 10,000 spots available, and a firm unwillingness to camp outside the night before, my entry to the rally seemed rather unlikely.
We went to the Lycoming Mall on Monday, May 20 to catch the bus to the rally. Our way from the car to the shuttle line was littered by vendors shouting various phrases like “Don’t be a Democrat, get yourself a Trump hat!”
The line for the bus went quickly and the ride was electric with the riders’ excitement. Once we entered Montoursville, crowds of people clad with red hats and shirts filled the sidewalks and streets.
The bus let us off at the end of the line and the wait began.
The line moved quickly but seemed endless, the only relief coming from a messy Buffalo Grilled Cheese from the Grilled Cheese Cafe food truck. After about an hour, the rumors began spreading: no one else was getting in. My friend and I decided to call it quits and get a good spot to watch Donald Trump Jr.’s speech on the screen before the thousands of people behind us had the same notion.
Trump Jr. had to halt his speech several times and call for a medic for viewers amidst the sea of red who had probably passed out from standing in line since 9 a.m.
After Trump Jr. finished his talk, hype music blared and we waited some more for the arrival of the president.
The only interruption of the music was the signal of Air Force One talking to the Williamsport Regional Airport. He was close. Everyone’s heads and phones turned to the sky. At last, we saw it. The giant airplane that was carrying Donald Trump, arriving about seven minutes late.
Trump delivered his speech, people went crazy, and we left early to avoid the traffic.