DeltaPlex prepares for packed Trump campaign visit

Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-20 22:45:01-05

WALKER, Mich. — It was a race against the clock Sunday night for those working inside the Deltaplex Arena preparing for Donald Trump's second campaign stop in Michigan.

Joel Langlois, the Deltaplex Arena owner, said this isn't his first rodeo when it comes to hosting presidential campaigns. "Dick Cheney was here before, and we've had other Democrat fundraising events too," he said.

However, this time Langlois and his team were only given a little over a week to prepare for Monday's big event.

"It’s the nature of the business we’re in," Langlois said. "We usually have a bit more notice than four or five days, but we got a great staff and great team."

Less than 24 hours prior, the Deltaplex Arena was filled with basketball players and fans for a Grand Rapids Drive game.

By early Sunday evening, the work for the Trump rally was nearly done.

"We had a crew in here that had to clean the building, pull the basketball court up, pull up all the seats, wash the floor, set the stage, set the media stages; so they were here all night," he said.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump will take the stage Monday night, his second campaign visit to Michigan following the standing-room-only crowd at Birch Run in Saginaw back in August.

"I just want to have a nice event to show off our building and our community," Langlois said. "Grand Rapids is a great place. We’ve got a lot of great people around here, whether they like him or don’t like him."

As for those who aren't too fond of the presidential candidate, Langlois tells FOX 17 a number of Facebook groups have already been created in an effort to organize protests outside Monday night's event.

"The protesters? We’re prepared for them," Langlois said. "We’ve got a great big sidewalk they’re welcome to exercise their first amendment rights on. Beyond that, you know, it’s private property, so they can’t actually come on the property, but there’s plenty of area out there for them to do what they want to do."

Some protesters plan to fail to show up to thin out the crowd.

"The way the Trump campaign works [is] they want people to register to show up," said Langlois. Opposing campaigns will register to attend "so they can not show up to try and make it look empty, so they take a lot more reservations than what the capacity is."

The Deltaplex has a capacity of 7,500 and, according to Langlois, around 20,000 people are planning to attend Monday night's event.

Sunday's rally begins at 7:30 p.m., and doors open at 5 p.m. However, Langlois suggests arriving around 4 p.m. if you want to make it inside.

While tickets are free, parking will be $5.

According to the Deltaplex' website, these items are prohibited in the building:

• Outside food and beverage
• Anything that may be deemed as a weapon
• Brass knuckles
• Sticks
• Clubs
• Pepper spray
• Knives
• Tear gas
• Batons
• Large signs, banners, posters
• Unauthorized pamphlets
• Tripods/monopods
• Laser pointers
• Outside alcohol
• Illegal drug
• Noisemakers
• Flashlights
• Fireworks
• Beach balls
• Cameras (no flash/professional photography recording/audio devices)
• Large bags
• Hula hoops

A FOX 17 crew will be at Monday night's event.