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Lynden locals bracing for big crowds, big security for Trump visit Saturday

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LYNDEN, Wash. -- Whatcom County officials are scrambling to prepare for a visit by Donald Trump.

The GOP presidential candidate is scheduled to hold a rally at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Republican presidential primary in Washington is being held May 24, but Trump is the only candidate left standing after rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the GOP race last week. Trump is now campaigning against the probable Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Trump had considered holding rallies at Paine Field in Everett or at Boeing Field in Seattle, but those plans fell through.

Instead, the campaign chose Lynden, a city of about 13,000 people in the far northwest part of the state that is only about 5 miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border.

According to state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale – who has been working with Trump’s campaign  – the campaign was just looking for a venue without a previously scheduled event that could accommodate their rally.  They kept moving north as things kept falling through. They were trying to keep things near an airport that could accommodate Trump’s 757. Original plans were to have the event at an airport at some hangar but that didn’t work out so Lynden was it.

Ron Kramer and his son Luke said they are ready for a close-up look at the presumptive GOP presidential nominee when he takes the stage at the fairgrounds.

“He’s a very entertaining person and he’s going to do good no matter what people say,” said Luke. “With Trump around, it’s always good.”

Crews spent Friday morning scrambling to get the grandstand ready for what’s likely to be a packed house on Saturday.

“Anything could happen, I've got to be there,” said Ron Kramer.

People looking for tickets to the rally need to request one from Trump’s website. But just because you have one doesn’t mean you’ll get in – ticket-holders are being told to show up early to get a spot in line.

Trump is expected to pack up to 5,000 people in the outdoor stands.

“I kind of thought it was a joke at first,” said Elysia Clark, who owns Cattlelac Cowgirl & Co. clothing store in downtown Lynden. She said she didn’t to know what to think when she heard 'The Donald' planned a big campaign rally just down the street.

“We’re kind of a small-knit farm community,” she said. “We don’t really have a lot going on most of the time.”

Dozens of Good Sam campers will have to share the fairgrounds with Trump’s teeming fans. Plus, a horse show and a wedding are also scheduled on the grounds on the same day.

Clark said she hopes everyone stays on their best behavior when Trump makes his mark on the Northwest corner of Washington state.

“I’m still confused as to why Lynden?” asked Clark. “It’s an interesting choice and I’m not quite sure what the motives behind that are.”

Security will be an all-hands-on-deck situation for local police and sheriff’s deputies. The agencies are pulling in all off-duty officers to work overtime for the event.

The doors at the fairgrounds open at noon Saturday.