Preparations underway in Battle Creek for Trump rally

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — City officials are getting ready for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Battle Creek Wednesday.

More than 10,000 people are expected to visit the city for Trump’s Merry Christmas rally at Kellogg Arena. It’s scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and doors open at 3 p.m. for general admission.

Drivers are advised to use the city’s interactive parking map. Some lots are available all day, but others are only available after 3 p.m. or as late as 5 p.m.

Attendees who have a handicapped placard or license plate can park at the former Kmart, located at Capital Avenue SW and Dickman Road. Shuttle services will be available starting at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday as well as a ride back to the parking lot.

Parking restrictions begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday and expand as it gets closer to the event.

Jessica Vanderkolk, the communications manager for Battle Creek, says city employees have been busy preparing for the event.

“Our public works department has taken all the barricades we’ve got, and they are staged at various locations around the downtown, so they’re ready for the first road closures,” Vanderkolk said.

The city says additional road closures are possible beyond what is expected, and there will be temporary road closures as well.

“We’re going to close things as the crowd kind of dictates as folks line up, we may have to go further north with some closures just to accommodate everybody,” Vanderkolk said.

Saundra Kiczenski was one of the first two people in line Tuesday morning for the rally Wednesday night.

“I have been to 30 rallies in 15 different states. Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be my 31st rally and 10 of them have been in Michigan. Probably the furthest one was in Las Vegas,” Kiczenski said.

The resident of Sault Ste. Marie wanted to be one of the first people in line to get a close seat. She says sitting in the cold is worth it.

“The energy in that room is unbelievable, and it’s like non-stop excitement from start to finish so as soon as I was done with the first rally, I was like OK when is the next one,” Kiczenski said.

City leaders are expecting the number of people will exceed the arena’s capacity. Festival Market Square will be used as an overflow area for people who cannot get inside.

Heaters, portable toilets and at least one food truck are expected to be placed at the Festival Market Square.

The Battle Creek Welcome Center is across the street from the arena and has already been helping visitors navigate the downtown streets.

Linda Freybler, CEO of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, says they are hoping to showcase to visitors what the area has to offer.

“We are anticipating 70 to 80% of the visitors are going to be from out of town, out of our county coming in, so we’re really excited to host this event,” Freybler said.

While Trump is visiting Michigan, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on impeaching the president.


City officials said the following items are not allowed in the arena:

  • Aerosols and spray containers
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Appliances
  • Backpacks, bags, roller bags, suitcases, and other bags larger than 12”x14”x5”
  • Balloons and balls
  • Banners, signs, and placards, and supports for signs/placards
  • Chairs
  • Coolers
  • E-cigarettes
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Explosives of any kind, including fireworks
  • Glass, thermal, and metal containers
  • Laser lights and laser pointers
  • Mace and/or pepper spray
  • Noisemakers, such as air horns, whistles, drums, bullhorns, etc.
  • Packages
  • Poles, sticks, and selfie sticks
  • Recreational motorized mobility devices
  • Tents and similar structures
  • Toy guns
  • Tripods
  • Umbrellas
  • Weapons of any kind, including firearms
  • Any other item that may pose a threat to the security of the event, as determined by, and at the discretion of the security screeners.