OLDSMAR — Republicans in shuttle buses are expected to pour into Oldsmar Saturday morning for a campaign appearance by GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Authorities expect a sizable crowd at the free event, which will be held outdoors in R.E. Olds Park on the Oldsmar bayfront.
The park is in a residential area with no substantial public parking nearby, so attendees are being asked to park 21/2 miles away at the Tampa Bay Downs horse racing track on Racetrack Road, where a shuttle service will ferry them to the political rally.
The shuttle service will start running at 7:30 a.m.
People will be admitted to R.E. Olds Park starting at 9 a.m. The rally is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
Tickets are required. They are available free online at http://paulryanoldsmar.eventbrite.com, where attendees can register. Once they register, the Romney-Ryan campaign will email them tickets to print out.
"To get in, you're going to have to present that ticket to security, along with a state-approved ID," said Oldsmar spokeswoman Ann Stephan.
Stephan said that security at the event will be much like it is in airports. The campaign is warning people to bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids or signs will be allowed in the park. However, cameras are permitted.
Ryan is a huge draw for the Republican base. It's not clear yet who else will be speaking. The event notice only states, "You're invited to a rally with Paul Ryan and the Republican Team."
The city doesn't expect traffic to be a big issue Saturday, especially with the plan for shuttles running from Tampa Bay Downs.
"This is something the Romney-Ryan campaign is coordinating," Stephan said Thursday. "We have a great deal of faith that it'll be a smooth flow of people that we'll welcome to our city as part of this democratic process."
North Pinellas County seems to be a magnet for GOP vice presidential nominees. Four years ago, John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin spoke at a rally in Clearwater's Coachman Park, ripping Barack Obama as an unpatriotic tax raiser. Police estimated the rally's crowd at 4,500 people, while the Republican Party put the number at 10,000.
Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.