MINNEAPOLIS - Thousands of people showed up at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Wednesday, hoping to score a presidential ticket.
On Thursday, President Obama arrives in the Twin Cities for a two-day visit that will include events at Minnehaha Park and the Lake Harriet Bandshell, along with a fundraiser. But with Thursday's Minnehaha Park town-hall meeting being an invitation-only event, Friday's Lake Harriet speech was the only chance for the public to hear the president. And that meant long and early lines on Wednesday morning.
"I was really excited to see President Obama in person. And I was also interested in what he had to say about increasing the minimum wage," said Martin Donovan, a 16-year-old Washburn High School student who showed up at 4:30 a.m. to earn the first place in line.
"It's my backyard, and so we're very excited," said Sarah Stensrud who was in line with her family.
White House officials declined to give many specifics about the event, citing security reasons. They also didn't specify the number of people to receive tickets, although early estimates suggested at least 2,000 people would attend.
And for the owner of Bread & Pickle - the restaurant located in the bandshell - that's a substantial, built-in lunch crowd.
"We hope some people hang out and enjoy the lake," said Kim Bartmann, Owner of Bread & Pickle.
Meantime, the Presidential events will result in several road and building closures. According to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, those closures include:
Minnehaha Park Facility Closures begin at 8 a.m. Thursday, including: the pedestrian and bike trails, Minnehaha Dog Park, Minnehaha Park north plateau playground, Minnehaha Refectory building - including Sea Salt restaurant, Longfellow House/Longfellow Garden and Minnehaha Falls. Parking restrictions will also begin at 12 a.m. Thursday, including all parking lots and metered parking spaces. Actual road closures begin at 8 a.m. Thursday on Godfrey Parkway, Minnehaha Parkway between 39th Avenue South to the roundabout at Godfrey Parkway, Minnehaha Avenue between East 46th Street and the roundabout at Godfrey Parkway and Minnehaha Park Drive to East 54th Street. The Veterans Home will be accessible by 46th Avenue only.
On Wednesday at 10 p.m., the Lake Harriet Boat Launch will close and will reopen after the Presidential speech on Friday. Road closures in that area also begin at 12 a.m. Friday, including: Lake Harriet Parkway between Roseway Road and West 44th Street, Roseway Road between Kings Highway and Lake Harriet Parkway, William Berry Parkway, Queen Avenue between West 40th Street to West 42nd Street and West 42nd Street between Linden Hills Boulevard and Lake Harriet Parkway.
There is also no street parking - beginning 12 a.m. Friday - at: Linden Hills Boulevard between West 40th Street to West 42nd Street and West 40th Street between Linden Hills Boulevard and Queen Avenue.
Lake Harriet Facility Closures also begin at 12 a.m. Friday, including: pedestrian and bike trails, Lake Harriet North Beach, William Berry Playground, Bread & Pickle Restaurant, Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Lyndale Park Gardens/Rose Garden and Parking lots. No watercraft will be allowed on Lake Harriet, and there will be no access to buoyed sailboards.
Residents living on Queen Avenue South will also be escorted to and from their homes Friday morning. And officials are urging people to take buses to the event from Parade Stadium.