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The DNC Kicks Off Today. Here’s What’s Going Down in Philly

The DNC Kicks Off Today. Here’s What’s Going Down in Philly: Drew Angerer / Getty

Drew Angerer / Getty

After 75 minutes of describing a downtrodden America besieged by terror, crime and murderous illegal immigrants, Donald Trump left Hillary Clinton with more than enough ammo going into the Democratic National Convention this week.

The convention is expected to draw up to 50,000 participants to Philadelphia—delegates, guests and media representatives from around the country—as Democrats gather to nominate their pick for the next President of the United States. It will be Monday through Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly, a stone’s throw from where Rocky cut his teeth in the ring and where Bobby Rydell crooned “Bye, Bye Birdie.”

For each day of the convention, Hillary’s team has set up what they hope will be a diverse range of everyday Americans to share their stories of toils and trials rallying around the theme of growing “Stronger Together.” And while the RNC conventioneers are sweeping up their confetti and streamers, Philadelphians are getting ready to unfurl theirs. Here’s a preview of what to expect.


THE GIST

The DNC Host Committee has said visitors have booked roughly 20,000 hotel rooms throughout the region. Most of the bigger events, including the formal nomination of the presidential candidate, will take place at the Wells Fargo Center. Other DNC-related events, including various Democratic caucus and committee meetings, will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City.

“We really, really want this to be a great convention for the Democratic Party, but also for the people of Philadelphia,” says Ed Rendell, Democratic National Committee Chair. “We’re doing the PoliticalFest, the Donkeys Around Town—we’ll be doing a lot of fun and enjoyable things that Monday, the first opening day.”

You’ll see them popping up here and there—57 life-size fiberglass donkeys in select spots all around town. Aimed at gearing up enthusiasm for the DNC, each donkey was painted by a local Philadelphia artist to depict iconic images of each U.S. state and territory.

ON THE STREETS

The city has warned businesses to take down flags, bring in planters, secure commercial dumpsters as well as anything else that could cause “misappropriation by demonstrators.”

During the convention, more than 35,000 protesters are expected to crowd Philadelphia’s streets each day. Some of the targeted location zones for these protests are near Independence Mall, City Hall, the Municipal Services Building, Marconi Plaza, FDR Park, outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Wells Fargo Center itself.

Marches are planned down Broad and Market streets. These will coincide with a Technicolor Dream Coat of carpet rolled out for visitors and delegates along South Broad Street streaming from City Hall to Washington Avenue. Compliments of the Mural Arts Project, the mile-long mural “14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words” will be displayed along the South Broad Street median for the four days of the convention.

WHERE TO STAND BACK (OR JOIN THE FRAY)

Members of #OccupyTheDNC will be showing up to peacefully protest the DNC. Their goal, sources say, is to show up in mass numbers to swing super delegates to Bernie Sanders.

On Tuesday, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, better known for their hate speech, homophobia and overall evil, will come to Philly during the DNC to protest the Mazzoni Center, a non-profit health care provider serving the LGBT community. Counter-protesters plan to create a “great wall of love” and form a human shield to protect clients going into the Mazzoni Center.

Members of the MOVE Organization, the West Philly row home group that was bombed by then-Mayor Wilson Goode in the 1980s, plan to “Shut down the DNC! Build the Movement to Smash Capitalism & Racism” mid-week.

These protests, and many others, can be found on a calendar here.

WHERE TO EAT

Reading Terminal Market will open an hour early, at 7 a.m., each day, to accommodate the hoards of people expected. Various bars and restaurants around town will be staying open later, too. It is up to purveyors to opt in or out. Bars in Philadelphia normally close at 2 a.m., but the state of Pennsylvania has allowed some, particularly those affiliated with the convention, to stay open till 4 a.m.

Stephen Starr, restaurateur of 19 successful eateries in town, said he is looking forward to the DNC and is opening one of his establishments, Jones, early for breakfast for a number of parties.

“Sure, we absolutely have many buyouts. A lot [of restaurants] have been bought out during those three or four days,” he said. “We’re anticipating every big party occurring, not just for delegates, but for bigwigs. I’m not sure that it will be Hillary, but I think that it will be some pretty heavy duty parties on Monday when the first parties start.”

WHO’S TWEETED WHAT NOW?

Like politicians, celebrities can’t resist being drawn to big gatherings with lots of fanfare and bright lights. Rest assured, they let their fans know.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be in Philly on Thursday to support Hillary. Follow him on Twitter @kaj33.

Demi Lovato promises a special on-stage surprise next week at the DNC. Follow her @ddlovato.

Erika Alexander, better known as Pam Tucker from The Cosby Show and Maxine Shaw from Fox’s Living Single, will be showing her support for Hill next week. Follow Erika @EAlexTheGreat.

America Ferrera said she is honored to announce that she and Lena Dunham will be speaking together at the DNC next week. Follow her @AmericaFerrera.

And Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn will also be making an appearance and speech. Follow him @tonygoldwyn.

WHO’S WHO

The DNC recently announced a list of elected officials who will be speaking on Hillary’s behalf.

Some of those speakers include New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

DAY-TO-DAY

Monday’s theme of “United Together” is expected to feature First Lady Michelle Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders and DREAMer Astrid Silva, who came to the U.S. from Mexico with her parents when she was 4 years old. The gavel time is 3 p.m.

Tuesday will chant “A Lifetime of Fighting for Children and Families” and feature President Bill Clinton and an appearance from “Mothers of the Movement”—details of which remain to be seen, but include the mother of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Gavel time is 4 p.m.

Wednesday promises to champion a theme of “Working Together,” with the voices of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Gavel time is 4:30 p.m.

Thursday finishes the convention with the rally cry of “Stronger Together.” Hillary Clinton is expected to speak about her vision for the country and her belief that America is best when the country is unified in its approach to solving problems. Her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, will be by her side. Gavel time is 4:30 p.m.

WINDING DOWN

Don’t pack your bags too quickly. Sources say the Hillary camp is planning an event on Independence Mall on Friday, July 29. Independence National Historical Park has granted the presumptive democratic nominee a permit for part of the park grounds near the Liberty Bell between 5th and 6th streets from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to published reports.

Other event permits that day for that space were granted to MSNBC and the National Constitution Center’s PoliticalFest.


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