Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A crowd of about 5,000 cheered so loudly at his entrance that President Donald Trump spent a few moments smiling and appearing to enjoy the support of the audience before he began speaking at this evening’s campaign rally inside the Mayo Civic Center Arena.

The speech capped a busy day of preparations for Rochester’s first presidential visit in 14 years. Supporters from near and far began gathering at the entrance to the Mayo Civic Center on Wednesday before the crowd steadily grew to many thousands before the doors were opened at 3:30 in the afternoon. About an hour and a half before the start of the rally, the number of people in the arena reached capacity and a large number of people hoping to see the president speak were diverted into designated overflow areas to watch a video feed of Trump’s speech. He urged those in attendance to vote in November and encouraged them to cast their votes for Republican Congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn and Republican Karin Housley for the U.S. Senate.

President Trump arrived at the Rochester Airport around 5:20 in the afternoon aboard Air Force One and a large motorcade sped into the city to deliver him to downtown Rochester and the waiting crowd. About three hours after his arrival, Trump was back on Air Force One and headed back to Washington D.C. while city crews got to work removing the barricades and cement barriers that were used to close off the streets surrounding the Mayo Civic Center throughout the day.

Earlier in the day, as thousands of Trump supporters and others just hoping to see the president in person waiting in long lines outside Mayo Civic Center, a few hundred people participated in a demonstration to show their opposition. The protest organized by the group Citizens United for Rochester Empowerment or CURE, started at Soldier’s Park with a rally and was followed by a march through the downtown that blocked traffic at the busy South Broadway and 2nd Street intersection for about 15 minutes. Protesters could also be seen lining South Board in anticipation the presidential motorcade would follow that route.

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