Skip to comments.Bush, Palin visit raises concerns [Mrs. Bush and Gov. Palin at NC Comm. College Complete Woman Expo]
Posted on 03/17/2010 6:07:22 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Wilkesboro officials expressed concern this week over the ability of event organizers to handle security, crowd control and parking for "The Complete Woman Expo 2010," planned June 5 on the Wilkes Community College campus. Former First Lady Laura Bush and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin are scheduled to speak at the daylong event, which will be free to the public for general admission.
The non-partisan event is being organized by Blue Ridge Educational Resource Group (BRERG), "a new North Carolina nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to affect the issues that plague our society such as poverty, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy in a positive manner using every means possible," according to the group's website.
Event organizers have said that they expect a crowd of up to 40,000 people for the event.
"We're very concerned at this point," Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland told the members of the town council during a Monday afternoon work session. "I don't think we've ever had that many people at the college at one time."
Crowd estimates at MerleFest reflect a four-day total attendance.
"We are concerned that this group does not have the experience required to put on an event of this magnitude," said Noland. "We wish them luck and hope that everything goes smoothly. But this will be a very public event that will have an effect on the entire town. We are talking about parking on private property around the college as well as bus traffic in and out of the college all day.
"We want to make certain that all of the plans for security and other details are in place. I've told them that this event will not happen until the town council is satisfied that it can be pulled off successfully. It's my responsibility as town manager to not let the town get caught in an event gone wrong."
Noland told the council that organizers had not presented any plans to the town for consideration. He was told after the meeting, however, that representatives of the BRERG had come to town hall to meet with him while he was in the work session. Representatives of the group are to discuss the event with the council during the April town meeting.
"I'm told that they have signed contracts with Mrs. Palin and Mrs. Bush," said Noland. "We want to know that the town will be taken care of as well. The town doesn't want to get stuck putting police officers over there all day and then not getting paid. Everything is contingent upon the police chief, the fire chief and the town manager being satisfied before permits are issued."
'An event for women'
The Rev. Eric Jones, pastor of Faith Christian Assembly in Wilkesboro, is the president of the Wilkes Ministerial Association and a member of the BRERG board. He said Tuesday that the BRERG is "young and just getting started, but this county was built on that kind of spirit. We want to uplift and honor women and girls who do so much with this event."
The BRERG was incorporated in October 2009, and the paperwork to obtain 501(c)(3) status has been filed.
Jones said the group is "working hot and heavy to get everything worked out for this event. We're creating a team of local volunteers, and we are also working with people from outside of Wilkes who are experts in working with large crowds who have the experience needed to help us."
Jones did not want to name any of the outside people who are assisting.
He added, "We want to work with town officials and the college security. They're the experts, and we want to listen to them. We also have a verbal agreement for bus service with one of the groups that provides shuttles during MerleFest."
Representatives of the BRERG met with college and town officials last week to present their plans and answer questions. The meeting at the college followed a planning session for the MerleFest.
1,500 advance tickets
Jones said that 1,500 advance tickets for the event have already been sent out. Though there is no admission charge, organizers are asking those planning to attend to request tickets in advance so they will know how many people to expect.
"We really haven't done any formal advertising, but we have had inquiries from Michigan, New Jersey and several other states," he said.
The group, he said, had signed contracts with both Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Palin, adding that advances on the speakers' fees have been paid, "but all of the fees have not been paid," he said. The group had also sent a list of suggested talking points to each of the speakers, and Jones said that discussions have been held with Secret Service representatives with regard to security for Mrs. Bush.
The BRERG is financing the event by selling sponsorships and advertisements.
First event is a large one
Jones, a pastor for 28 years, acknowledged that the event is a big first step for the group. He said, "This experience is like eating beef jerky the more you chew, the bigger it gets.
"We've had some small events at our church," he said. "We had the 'Southern Explosion,' a health fair, in 2006 with 300 or 400 people, and that took a lot of planning. But we're calling on people who have experience with large crowds. We're not too proud to ask for help. This is not about us."
Jones explained, "We knew we wanted to have a good speaker who would touch people," he said, "and we wanted to have someone who would speak to everyone, Christian or non-Christian. Someone suggested Laura Bush, and then Sarah Palin was mentioned as a long shot."
Jones said that his group was recruiting "an army of volunteers" to assist with the event.
If they expect 40,000, there'll be 100,000! Sarah, unlike Barry, is popular with real Americans.
Funny how easy it is for leftists to speak and how conservatives need security to exercise their 1st amendment rights.
Wow! That’s close to where I live, will be attending for sure.
This won''t be a democrat shin-dig. Being a college town, they may not familiar with the side of light.
First Lady Laura and Governor Sarah Palin TOGETHER!!!!
AT “The Complete Woman Expo 2010,” planned June 5 on the Wilkes Community College campus!!!!
The reason Merlefest kept being mentioned, is that it’s the only mass attendance event that the region has any experience handling at all. It’s spread out over several days, with totals topping 75,000 people, also held at the Wilkes Community College campus.
So, there’s some cause for concern, but they’re not total babes in the woods with this sort of thing. They’ll likely get it worked out better than some of the other locales caught flat-footed by the Sarah phenomenon.
Sarah Palin was just on with Hannith for 10 mins or so.
Sarah was on a total roll re BomaCare,the unconstitutional
Yes!!! He always watches Hannity.
For those that don’t know anything about Wilkesboro, NC ...
It’s in the famed foothills of NC, just down the mountain from Boone, NC - one of the prettiest places you can imagine.
Wilkes County is hardcore Southern Baptist - not too many liberals there. Just a bunch of good ol’ southern boys that love their guns, their bibles, their families and their independence. Palin will get a rousing welcome from that group.
“It’s my responsibility as town manager to not let the town get caught in an event gone wrong.”
A crowd of 100,000 folks that are going to a Christian based forum to see Governor Palin and Mrs. Bush. Yep - it’s going to be chaos! (Someone should send him the “after” photos of the Washington Mall after the TeaParty, and the ones after Obama’s inauguration.)
Thank you, Free America52!!!!
I was just about to do a search!
It sounds lovely and “you betcha” it sounds like Sarah will be most welcome. Just wow!
“Jones said that his group was recruiting “an army of volunteers” to assist with the event.”
I hear that the Black Muslims are very good at this and as luck would have it, they already have their own uniforms.
Sarah did us proud.
We love North Carolina espically The Outer Banks which we visit every Thanksgiving Week!!!
Someone should get a nice General Lee that she can arrive in
That would not be a good idea.
I hope the muslims show up and get their bowties rearranged.
Thanks for the ping. I smell OBots at work.
You Betcha, Spot On!
She's baiting them.
Yes, and Saarah can speak up and speak on for several minutes without a telprompter
The more the merrier!
Thanks for the ping, onyx!
Yes, truly delight to attend! How I wish!!!
I’m so happy to see you.
I miss you, but know you’re enjoying your family!!!!
Bigger than MerleFest, my goodness! At least the attendees will have bathed ...
(But we had a GREAT time. He loves politics, and we talked and talked and talked....... :)
Oh, ((((ohioWfan)))) but you had a lovely, memorable visit.
These guys better find a football stadium, for Laura and Sarah..........LOL