On the Road

Grant Park Dispatch #1: Risers And American Flags

I count 27 American flags on the stage where Obama will either acknowledge victory or concede defeat tonight. TV crews set up for live shots on gigantic risers overlooking the stage.

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Risers in all directions Thomas Pierce/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Thomas Pierce/NPR

Regardless of the outcome, the city is preparing for an unbelievable turnout tonight. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has said there might be as many as a million people in the park, most of them outside the fenced area. The campaign expects about 75,000 ticketed guests in this small southeastern corner. People have already lined up at the single entrance designated for the public — even though they can't get in until after 8:30pm. For those without tickets, the city is setting up large jumbotron screens elsewhere in the park.

In their guide to the evening's festivities, the Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Transit Authority and the Metra will run extra buses and trains this afternoon and evening. They promise to keep at it until the job is done.

Streets are blocked off all the way to Michigan Avenue. The city's entire police force (13,500 members) is on duty today — manning all the checkpoints and roadblocks, directing traffic, and working with U.S. Secret Service to ensure the safety the candidate when he arrives.

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