Supporters flock to Wildwood ahead of Trump’s beachfront rally

With less than 24 hours before Donald Trump’s arrival in Wildwood for his Saturday beachfront rally, supporters have already gathered at the boardwalk and started lining up for an event that is expected to draw thousands to the New Jersey beach.

The rally will be held on a section of the beach near 3601 Boardwalk, between Morey’s Piers and Adventure Pier. Ticket holders can enter between 12 and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

People started lining up on the boardwalk as early as Thursday, braving chilled winds for a chance at seeing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the November’s general election close up. It is not yet clear how many people will be in attendance, but local officials have estimated that a crowd of up to 40,000 could fit in the space.

Many people on the boardwalk were wearing Trump t-shirts and hats, with several supporters carrying Trump-themed flags that towered high above the boardwalk.

A handful of people who were lining up on the cold and overcast Friday afternoon came from various parts of the Garden State, while others journeyed from other states as far as Tennessee.

Cory Adams was the first supporter to arrive on Thursday. After packing up his car and trekking 10 hours from Mansfield, Ohio to the Jersey Shore city, the 22-year-old formed a line, which eventually grew to about 50 to 100 people late Thursday.

“I believe Trump can save the country,” Adams told NJ Advance Media as he was seated on a beach chair in front of Morey’s Pier, bundled in a blanket and sweatshirt.

Mark Bellini, 63, of Brick, New Jersey waits outside the event area in Wildwood for President Donald Trump’s rally on Friday, May 10, 2024.

With a hotel room nearby, Mark Bellini prepared to join the line. Sitting on a beach chair in the whippy winds and rain on Friday afternoon, the 63-year-old Brick resident said he got a hotel nearby and spent the past two days going back and forth between his room and his spot on the boardwalk.

“He tells it how it is,” Bellini said from his beach chair, kept warm by a red Trump sweatshirt.

Bellini’s public support for Trump spans eight other rallies and he was also among the flock of people outside of the New York City courthouse where the former president’s ongoing hush-money case is being heard.

“I don’t mind camping out,” he said.

The Republican presidential hopeful’s campaign paid $54,200 to the city of Wildwood for the rally, according to records obtained by NJ Advance Media.

This is Trump’s second rally in the popular shore town. The first was held in January 2020, when he spoke to about 7,000 supporters inside Wildwood Convention Center.

The city said on Thursday that it had temporarily paused the granting of mercantile licenses, as a way to fend off traveling merchants who regularly tour with Trump. Mayor Ernie Troiano said the purpose of this is to prevent price gouging during the rally and protect the resort city’s tax-paying businesses.

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Nicolas Fernandes may be reached at nfernandes@njadvancemedia.com.


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