As a journalist for eighteen years, I got to see many presidents, and I made it a mission to see as many as possible in my lifetime. Now that I am a photographer I jumped at the chance to snag tickets to see and photograph Donald Trump who was speaking ten minutes from my house at the airport in
Freeland, Michigan on September 10th, 2020!
After requesting tickets for my husband and me we had a ton of questions about attending the event. I am sharing my experience here to hopefully inform others who are signed up to attend a Trump rally.
First, we signed up for tickets on the Donaldjtrump.com website. It was quick and easy and they immediately texted a verification code which I plugged in. We were told to expect further instruction before the event. But, we never heard back! Do we have a ticket? We decided to simply show up hoping the verification code was our entry. More on this later!
If you want to get into the venue and actually see Trump in the flesh...get there early!
We arrived at 1:30 pm for his speech that was scheduled for 7pm.
The queue lines were already filled in front of us!
Our friend arrived at 5:30 and had to view the event on this big screen outside the venue.
We packed several sandwiches for our long wait, but they also sold carnival foods outside the venue.
Vendors also sold Trump items.
We went during the Covid era, so they took our temperature before we even got in line.
They handed out free masks and hand sanitizer.
They did not require this, but allowed people to attend at their own discretion and risk.
While some wore masks, most did not.
We waited in the queue lines until they opened the venue at 4pm.
I suggest you wear comfy shoes, and dress in layers for the weather!
The patriotic clothing created a festive atmosphere!
While in line, the big screen flashed a list of items that were prohibited inside the venue.
This included food, drinks, alcohol, cameras with changeable lenses, tripods, chairs, signs or banners, sticks including selfie sticks, backpacks, roller bags, coolers, laser lights or pointers umbrellas, noisemakers such as air horns, balloons, balls, explosives including fireworks.
If you had any of these items, you could run them back to your car, or dump them in the trash.
Knowing we were going to be hours without food and drink, we and others hurriedly ate and drank what we brought and shared sandwiches, chips and other rations with others.
I hope they have bathrooms inside!!!
When the venue opened, security screened us much like at the airport.
They looked through our bags, and we went through a metal detector.
They never asked for a ticket or the verification code.
They simply put everyone through the security process so
don't worry if you never hear back or receive any kind of ticket!
Inside, there were portable potties...Our first stop!
Even though it seemed like hundreds of people were ahead of us in line,
we still had an amazing spot to see the president!
Seats were set up for several hundred and we were the first row of standing people
so we had a great view!
We were right behind the nice handicapped accommodations.
Now, for the long wait and more standing!
Music blared with oldies and people were swaying, dancing and singing along.
Such a lively, fun group!
My feet were starting to go numb as we closed in on Trump's arrival.
I actually joined several people sitting on the cement for about a half hour.
Then, we started to hear cheers, then screams! Air Force One was landing...right on schedule!
The landing was majestic with that enormous plane!
This was my favorite moment!
No, my favorite moment was when he walked from the plane onto the stage!!!
My friend was watching a live stream at home and was told 6-7-thousand people were there to see the president in a venue that held 3-thousand. Half the people were outside.
The roar of the crowd thundered through my body!
And, there he was...the president of the United States right in front of me!
It was powerful indeed!
As a professional photographer, I was pining for my good camera with
all my changes of lenses to capture this creatively!
Yet, I only had my phone!
I still tried to be creative with my shots!
The sun faded as Trump spoke for 90 minutes!
Yes, my feet were killing me!
After the exhilarating event, we filed to the massive parking lot
that was now dark...no lights!
Took us a half hour to find our car and it was now drizzling.
We didn't move an inch for another half hour and finally
arrived home at 10:15.
It was a very long, tiring day, but absolutely worth it to witness history being made!