FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Hundreds of cars and motorcycles are traveling along I-469 to show their support for President Donald Trump Sunday afternoon.
The ‘Circle the Fort’ parade began in the Stock and Field parking lot at State Road 15 and US 24 in Wabash at 1 p.m. The group added participants from Lagro, Huntington, and Roanoke as they headed towards Fort Wayne. Most vehicles are decorated with flags showing their support for President Trump while others wrote on their windows. The Wabash County Republicans organized the event after seeing it done in other cities.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm and we wanted to include all 14 Northeast Indiana Counties and so we just started spreading the word,” said Barbara Pearson, Chair of the Wabash County Republicans.
They originally intended for a small group to drive 55 miles per hour around I-469 and I-69 in support of President Trump but say once word got around interest exploded over the event. Over 1,000 people on Facebook marked that they would be attending the rally with nearly 2,500 more expressing interest in the event. Pearson believes part of that enthusiasm stemmed from the lack of other Republican events happening in the area.
“Because of the COVID, we’ve been locked down and really not able to run a normal campaign cycle and so I think there was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of people wanted to get out and show their support,” said Pearson.
The support came from more than just the people behind the wheel. People set up on entrance ramps and overpasses to watch the vehicles drive by. One neighborhood even held a tailgate on Parent Rd. Mark Bradmueller said more people showed up than the expected, but that he was not surprised to see the support for Trump.
“When we knew the parade was coming through, I just had the idea that this would be a good place to set up and enjoy the parade and it kind of got a little out of control,” said Bradmueller. “We’re a pretty conservative community. We love God, we love family, we love freedom, and that’s what we feel Trump stands for.”
Pearson said they did discuss the event with law enforcement ahead of the rally. They were told to stay in the right lane on I-469 and then the middle lane of I-69 to allow for traffic to flow better. The rally was also asked to keep their blinkers on and space out so that other cars could still navigate the highway, however when the rally combined with regular highway and construction zones traffic was moving as slow as 35 miles per hour at some points.