Sweltering heat and long lines didn't deter thousands of people around the Tampa Bay area on Wednesday from picking up tickets to President Barack Obama's Saturday speech at St. Petersburg College's Seminole Campus.
John Herbert, determined to see the president for the first time, was the first person in line at the campaign office on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. The 52-year-old St. Petersburg resident showed up at 11 a.m. with a chair, five bottles of water and snack bars.
By early evening, the line ran around the block.
Similar numbers turned out across the bay at the Ybor City campaign office.
In Clearwater, the line stretched several blocks. Hundreds of people waited, many holding umbrellas to ward off the late-afternoon sun. Police cars were stationed nearby to help manage pedestrian traffic on busy Drew Street.
The event will open to those with tickets at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Natural Habitat Park Field.
As of Wednesday evening, organizers didn't have an estimate of how many tickets they had given out or how many people the field could hold. If any tickets were left when the offices closed Wednesday night, officials said they would give out the remainder starting at 10 a.m. today.