I was denied press access for the Donald Trump rally. I still went there to document the event from the sidewalk outside of the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.
The crowd waiting to get in was patiently bearing the sprinkle of rain that started around 11:30am. Kraig Moss, from Owego, NY, entertained the supporters by singing and playing songs on his guitar with pro-Trump lyrics.
The line got really started growing around 1-2pm. The line stayed within a quarter mile long, but it was 8-10 people wide as it utilized the sidewalk west of the hotel entrance.
Overall, the line waiting to go in was pretty quiet for a photographer. There were a lot of vendors selling Trump shirts, hats, flags and buttons. There were 2-3 protesters of Trump there early on. They engaged in civil conversation with the Trump supporters. Nothing exciting, no engaging dramatic photography there. Just people discussing their differences of opinions.
Starting at 12:30pm groups of protesters started showing up. The first group was speaking against Trump's stand on immigration. The group stayed on the north side of College Ave, across from the Trump crowd. At first the response from the Trump supporters was minimal. When the group reached the Evan's Title skywalk they were greeted by a shirt vendor that started chanting "BUILD THAT WALL." Tempers of the crowd started to rise... thankfully a job well done by security and the Appleton Police Department cooled both sides and didn't let things get out of control.
A second group of protesters arrived after 1pm. This group was comprised of students and they carried signs of various statements against Trump. This group started by walking on the north side of College Ave as well, but eventually they walked among the Trump supporters. From what I saw their walk was only met by some quick comments and nothing serious... again, it was relatively quiet.
When Trump's rally started and security notified the people waiting to get in that the room had reached capacity a group of 15-20 supporters stuck around to voice their opinion against the protesters. The two groups exchanged chants back and forth across College Ave. South side "NO MORE BULLSHIT" was met by the North side with "TRUMP IS BULLSHIT." Other chants went back and forth. Again the security and Appleton Police Department did a great job of keeping things from escalating.
Throughout all of this a great moment happened through music. Kraig Moss, the Trump troubadour, and a young Bernie Sanders supporter got together and played a Johnny Cash song together. During this "Johnny Cash for President" was heard. It was a nice moment of harmony.
All of this in our "One Great Place" of Appleton, Wisconsin.
Thanks for stopping by.