November 28, 2014

Elyria
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Tea party group reserves Avon ballpark

AVON — The Tea Party Express is coming to Lorain County.

The national conservative bus tour will hold a rally at All Pro Freight Stadium 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 3.

Randy Newman, leader of the Lorain County 47th Tea Party, which is among the organizations sponsoring the event, said he has high hopes for the bus stop.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for people to come see the conservative way,” Newman said. “We’re not radicals, we’re not terrorists, we’re not extremists. We’re just like them.”

So far, the event is slated to feature conservative entertainers Victoria Jackson, a “Saturday Night Live” alum, and Lloyd Marcus, but Newman said he’s hopeful that at least one of the Republican presidential candidates will be able to make an appearance.

Levi Russell, a Tea Party Express spokesman, said several musical and comedy acts will perform.

“It’s been described as a rolling 4th of July act,” he said.

Newman said he’d like to see U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., or businessman Herman Cain show up. In the best-case scenario, Newman said, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a recent entrant into the Republican presidential contest, would also make an appearance.

Russell said the Tea Party Express is in talks with all the presidential candidates to appear but couldn’t comment on who might be there.

Jim Woods, co-founder of the Medina County Friends & Neighbors, another sponsoring organization, said he believes that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican, may also show up.

But Woods said the lineup won’t be finalized until sometime closer to the event.

“We just had to make sure we got a venue,” he said. “It’s always a great show, no matter what they do.”

Woods said his biggest concern is the competition from the Cleveland Air Show and Oktoberfest in Berea, which will also be that weekend. He said he’s hopeful that organizers will be able to fill the 5,000-person capacity home to the Lake Erie Crushers.

Newman said he believes that the prominent conservative event will be a big draw, even in traditionally Democratic Lorain County.

“The main thing is we want people to know that there are conservative groups in Lorain County, believe it or not,” he said.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith, the Democrat who leads the nonpartisan city, said he has no problem with the conservative event coming to town. He said it will be good marketing for both the stadium and the city to receive national news coverage.

Everyone, no matter what their political beliefs, has the right to assemble, Smith said.

“I represent the city of Avon. I represent the Democrats, the Republicans and the independents. I represent everybody, that’s my job,” Smith said.

Woods said the event will be free and open to the public. Food will be sold there, but he said organizers are still deciding whether to allow alcohol to be served at the event.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.