No drones, no selfie sticks: Line etiquette for the Trump rally in Wildwood

President Donald Trump speaks during a 2020 campaign rally Dec. 10, 2019, at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Matt Smith for WITF/PA Post)

President Donald Trump speaks during a 2020 campaign rally Dec. 10, 2019, at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Matt Smith for WITF/PA Post)

President Donald Trump is coming to Wildwood and thousands are expected to visit the island and show their support or opposition.

Though the island is no stranger to throngs of visitors during peak summer season, a presidential visit brings added security measures and logistical details, including limited parking, to keep in mind.

That’s in addition to questions many first-time rally-goers like Cindy Meisinger — who’s leaving Dover, Del. at midnight for a chance to get in when doors open at 3 p.m. — have about line etiquette and stepping out of the queue for things like bathroom breaks.

“Walking around in large crowds, being a young female, I’m not always comfortable with,” she said, wondering if people would hold her spot in line if she stepped out with her travel buddy to use the restroom.

The prevailing take in a Facebook group dedicated to the event is that stepping out in 20 minute intervals is fine — though bailing for hours and expecting your spot to still be there is a stretch.

“It’s kind of reassuring to see that everybody basically said, ‘We’re Trump supporters, we help each other out. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for you two to go [leave and come back],’” explained Meisinger.

The Wildwoods Convention Center can hold some 7,000 people, but rally organizers issued out more than 100,000 tickets for the event.

Protesters with the Cape May County chapter of Indivisible plan to attend, hosting a series of speakers, with Martin Luther King III serving as the keynote.

Here are some things to keep in mind when heading over to the area, whether it’s to protest or celebrate.

Parking and road closures

Local police said they started closing roads on Monday and the beach will be closed off on Tuesday. The Wildwood City School District will be closed for the day.

Parking will likely be a challenge the day of the event. Metered spots surrounding the convention center have been blocked off with orange tape and netting letting folks know they’re not up for grabs.

Some hotels, miles away from the convention center, are providing their guests with shuttles to get them to the boardwalk.

Some local homeowners are offering their garages for a fee.

For those taking rideshares, they should be dropped off at the 4600 block of New Jersey Ave. That leaves them a couple of blocks from the venue and avoids road closures.

People with disabilities can be dropped off at Ocean and Rio Grande Ave.

Where to line up for Trump and for protests

Trump supporters can line up right in front of the convention center. White barricades to guide crowds are already up and can’t be missed.

The protests will be several blocks from the convention center, along the boardwalk on the corner of East Bennett Ave. and Ocean Ave.

Bring snacks, but leave the expensive coolers at home.

Though the weather Tuesday is expected to reach a high in the mid-40s, people like Meisinger and her friend aren’t taking any chances.

“We definitely plan on bringing chairs. We actually even have a beach tent we’re going to bring to try and block some of the wind,” she said.

Meisinger’s set-up will include snow pants, other warm winter clothes, and card games to pass the more than 12 hours she expects to wait outside.

For those camping out to hold a spot in line, it’s worth remembering the chairs won’t be allowed inside. Meisinger said she’s ready to ditch her beach chairs in a heartbeat.

Attendees are allowed to bring food and drinks to the site, but alcoholic beverages, coolers and glass containers are prohibited.

There will also be food trucks by the convention center.

Where to go when you got to go

In addition to portable restrooms throughout the area, public restrooms on the boardwalk that flank the convention center — at Leaming Ave. and Youngs Ave. — will be open to the public.

The Doo Wop Experience, a museum across the street from the convention center, will also be open for public use.

What can you bring in the restricted area?

Small signs are allowed, per the Wildwood Police Department, but they can’t be attached to sticks or poles.

Leave the selfie sticks, weapons and drones at home.

(City of Wildwood Police Department)

The doors for those going to the rally will open at 3 p.m. and the event will begin at 7 and end around 9 p.m. The protest will run around the same time.

 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal