Last week the Republican National Convention was held in humble Cleveland, a city that has experienced plenty of action as of late. Ah yes, the Indians are on a hot streak and if you listen closely chants for the Championship Cavaliers can still be heard within the city’s walls. Many questioned whether Cleveland would be able to handle such a high volume of people on it’s streets by the time the RNC came to town but after hosting nearly 1.3 million people downtown for the Cavs’ parade doubters were silenced. However, with the GOP Convention scheduled just five short weeks away a new question arose: would Cleveland be ready in time?
It was. Although it was certainly a fast turnaround for the Mistake by the Lake, Cleveland got it together and pulled off a virtually mistake-free convention. Immediately after the Cavs festivities ended preparation for the RNC began. The Q quickly transformed from basketball stadium to convention arena ready to host the 50,000 plus people flocking to Cleveland for the massive event.
The top concern to the majority of convention goers involved their safety. The city of Cleveland insisted on overstocking the streets with police from all across the country. Just walking up and down E. 4th street I bumped into state troopers from Florida and Kentucky, California Highway Patrol Officers, and plenty of Cleveland’s own men and women in blue, thanking them for being here. The U.S. Secret Service was EVERYWHERE and often double and triple checked credentials to ensure everyone in the area was supposed to be there. With designated protesting areas at Public Square, I felt safe at all times. Actually, the protests were pretty quiet most of the week – there were only a few arrests due to a flag burning incident.
As the convention was wrapping up I ran into delegates from across the country who all said the same thing about Cleveland, “It’s clean, people are nice, I like it here.” Normally Cleveland is not the first destination for travelers looking to explore major U.S. cities but it is certainly making a name for itself. With always busy E. 4th street, on-the-rise sports teams, and trendy food hot-spots Cleveland was the perfect fit for the 2016 RNC.