Days ahead of RNC in Milwaukee, organizers preparing for ‘global spotlight’

Welcome event with Trace Adkins the day before the convention is expected to draw 15K people

Fiserv Forum with RNC signs.
The outside of Fiserv Forum shows signs welcoming people to the 2024 Republican National Convention on Thursday, June 27, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Reisner)

Organizers for the 2024 Republican National Convention — which is set to take place in downtown Milwaukee in less than three weeks — say they’re prepared to welcome upwards of 50,000 visitors to the city.

The security perimeter for the convention has been released. Over 4,000 volunteers have been recruited to work the event.

And the stage — which will be “partially floor-mounted” and “partially hung from the ceiling,” according to a statement —  is almost set.

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Alison Prange, the chief operating officer for the MKE 2024 Host Committee, said preparations are in “great shape.”

“We are excited to have people actually come into town and you’re going to start seeing more and more activity as we get closer,” she told WPR.

Reporters are set up outside of the Fiserv Forum before the Republican presidential primary debate Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Prange said Milwaukee will be in the “global spotlight” during the week of the event, as Republicans are set to nominate former President Donald Trump as their candidate to take on President Joe Biden during the presidential election this fall.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us to get a national, global spotlight, on a city that we all know and we’re going to get a chance to introduce people around the world to how awesome it is,” Prange said.

Rachel Reisner, the director of communications for the 2024 Republican National Convention, said the setup for the event is nearing completion.

“We’ve been around-the-clock working to put the final touches on the Fiserv (Forum),” she said.

Reisner said around 15,000 members of the media will be in Milwaukee for the convention. Inside Fiserv Forum — where the main event will take place — construction workers have been readying the stage, lighting panels, branding and anchor booths.

Outside of the arena, signage for the event can now be seen above the front entrance.

“There’s a lot to do in the next two and a half weeks or so, but things are looking really good and everyone is very excited,” Reisner said.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

One unknown is if Trump will appear in-person during the event after he was convicted of 34 felonies in May. His sentencing is set for July 11, just four days before the start of the convention.

“We’re fully anticipating having (former) president Trump here in Milwaukee to accept the nomination in July,” Reisner said.

During a press conference earlier in June, Michael Whatley, the chair of the Republican National Committee, said he’s “expecting” Trump to be at the event.

“Obviously, if we need to make contingency plans, we will,” Whatley said.

After reports first published in PunchBowl News that Trump called Milwaukee a “horrible city” during a closed-door meeting, the former president clarified his comments at a rally in Racine days later.

“I love Milwaukee,” Trump said, adding that he was one that “picked” Milwaukee to be the host city for the event.

Plans for the official RNC welcome party are also coming together. Trace Adkins will perform at Henry Maier Festival Park on July 14 for 15,000 people, Prange said.

“We are very happy with how that’s coming together and very excited about the community support that’s going to come out to welcome all of the guests to the RNC convention,” she said.