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Viral video compares crowd size at Trump and Biden midterm events in Pennsylvania

Viral video compares crowd size at Trump and Biden midterm events in Pennsylvania

Donald Trump and his supporters are famously obsessed with crowd size, and a video has gone viral comparing the audiences between recent rallies Mr Trump and Joe Biden held in Pennsylvania this week.

“Donald Trump and Joe Biden Both held rallies in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania this week,” reporter Benny Johnson, of conservative TV network Newsmax, wrote on Twitter in a post sharing the clip. “Here is what they looked like back to back. Incredible.”

The video, which has been viewed roughly 2.3m times, shows a packed house at Mr Trump’s rally in a stadium on Saturday, compared to a more modest crowd at the president’s speech on Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre.

Mr Trump, in his first major address since the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, indeed brought numerous supporters to the Mohegan Sun Area, which appeared to be at its capacity of 8,000 seats.

The former president used the “Save America” rally – nominally a speech to support Republicans seeking office in Pennsylvania like aspiring US senator Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano – to attack federal law enforcement and make unfounded claims about Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman using illegal drugs.

Mr Trump accused the Biden administration of “weaponising the FBI and Justice Department like never ever before” and described the court-authorised search of his property as the FBI “breaking into the homes of their political opponents”.

“The FBI and the justice department have become vicious monsters, controlled by radical-left scoundrels, lawyers and the media, who tell them what to do,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Biden was back in his home state this week as part of his own run of Pennsylvania midterm events.

The Biden speech shown in the comparison video took place on Tuesday in a gymnasium at Wilkes University, a small college with a student body of just over 2,000.

At the event, Mr Biden criticised Republicans for claiming to be the party of law and order, while backing the Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6.

“So let me say this to my Maga Republican friends in Congress: Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you won’t condemn what happened on the 6th,” he said. “Don’t tell me. Can’t do it.”

He continued: “For God’s sake, whose side are you on?  Whose side are you on? Look, you’re either on the side of a mob or the side of the police.  You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection. You can’t be a party of law and order and call the people who attacked the police on January 6th ‘patriots’. You can’t do it.”

Two days later, Mr Biden gave a primetime address in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Constitution was drafted.

“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said, adding that the man he defeated nearly two years ago – former president Mr Trump – and his “Maga Republican” allies “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic”.

“That is a threat to this country,” he continued.

It’s not the first time crowd-size comparisons are part of the political conversation.

Perhaps the first scandal of the Trump White House involved the then-president and his aides making dubious claims about the crowd size at Mr Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

Mr Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway told incredulous NBC host Chuck Todd at the time that the debunked statements weren’t wrong, but based on “alternative facts”.

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Petrolia Lions Club family Easter drive-thru event draws a crowd

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Vehicles were lined up before noon April 15 at the entrance to Petrolia’s Greenwood Park for the start of this year’s Easter “Eggstravaganza.”

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It was the 34th running of the event organized by the Petrolia and District Lions Club to bring some Easter joy to local families.

Normally, it’s an in-person family event at the service club’s hall and pavilion in the park next to the arena in Petrolia, but the pandemic has turned it into a drive-thru for the past two years.

More than 200 children went home last year with candy and treats, “and this year we’re set for 300,” said event chairperson Cheryl Schleihauf.

Vehicles made their way by tables set up through the arena parking lot, where 20 members of the service club and eight members of its LEO youth group dressed up as Easter characters handed out treats.

Natalee Bourn, left, and Austin Welch help man a drive-thru Easter family event the Petrolia Lions Club hosted Friday at Greenwood Park in Petrolia.
Natalee Bourn, left, and Austin Welch help man a drive-thru Easter family event the Petrolia Lions Club hosted Friday at Greenwood Park in Petrolia. Photo by Paul Morden /The Observer

Families were greeted at the final stop by Jeff Classen dressed as the Easter Bunny.

Schleihauf said the club decided to stick with a drive-thru this year but aims to return to an in-person event in 2023.

“It’s something to give back to the community,” she said, adding the event fits with the service club’s focus on programs serving young people.

The drive-thru was scheduled to run for two hours and those attending were invited to bring donations for local food banks.

The Easter event was initially a project of the former Lioness Club and continued when that group combined with the Lions Club about two decades ago, Schleihauf said.

Members of the LEO club also handed out information about the Lions and the youth group.

“We’re always looking for new members,” Schleihauf said.

The club currently has 57 members, with about 16 members in its LEO youth group.

Schleihauf said the club moved to online meetings when the pandemic began but has since resumed meeting in person, although members are still able to attend remotely if they wish.

A $60,000 grant from the Trillium Foundation allowed the club to upgrade its hall and install audio-visual equipment in 2020.

Schleihauf said the service club already has a busy schedule set this year for its hall and food trailer that can be booked for community events.

“We’re busy every weekend May, June, July and August,” she said.

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‘Wonderful’ Winterfest draws crowd to ODAS Park (8 photos)

'Wonderful' Winterfest draws crowd to ODAS Park (8 photos)

‘This event shows some light at the end of the tunnel,’ says Moonstone man. ‘It’s nice to do something outdoors and get that feeling of normalcy back’

Orillia families are gathering for wintry fun and excitement today at the third annual Severn Winterfest at ODAS Park. 

This year’s event feels extra special, says event president, Chad Cooke, after the 2021 event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“There is a ton of interest in this year’s event,” Cooke said. “I think people are very ready to be out and feeling more normal.”

Cooke says the community response to the event has been all positive so far.

“People are spreading the word about this event more than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a really good day.”

Masking is mandatory for indoor activities, but there are no protocols for the outdoor activities, Cooke notes.

The marquee events for the day are the demolition derby, which gets started at 1 p.m., the Polar Bear Dip which gets underway at 4:30 p.m., and the ice bar, which is open all day until 10 p.m.

“I think the biggest thing people are looking forward to is just getting out of the house,” Cooke said. “It’s going to be a nice day to enjoy some fresh air.”

Ian Culbert and his son Duncan made the trip from Moonstone to enjoy the ice house on Saturday morning.

“We are here to enjoy the great outdoors,” Culbert said. “We enjoyed the ice house and now we are headed for the slide.”

Culbert says Duncan is most looking forward to enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate during today’s festivities.

“This event shows some light at the end of the tunnel,” Culbert said. “It’s nice to do something outdoors and get that feeling of normalcy back.”

The Housser family, who lives just down the street from ODAS Park, was checking out the ice bar after enjoying the pancake breakfast.

“We are excited to try out the slide today,” said the mother of the family, Lorna. “I’m most excited to go on the bouncy castle,” added Lorna’s daughter, Hannah.

The Housser family says it feels “wonderful” to get back out into the community after months of pandemic isolation.

The event costs $10 for an adult, $5 for school-aged kids, and is free for children five years old and younger. All funds raised through the event will go to the Orillia Agriculture Society and will also be put toward next year’s event.

“It’s the Agriculture Society who puts this event on and maintains these grounds,” Cooke explained. “They run the fall fair and a ton of other events.”

Cooke also encourages community members to join the Severn Winterfest committee to keep the event going strong for years to come.

“I know the Perch Festival just cancelled because they didn’t have volunteers or sponsors,” he said. “We’ve been shorthanded. I think we have a decent amount of volunteers today, but we were shorthanded to build all this stuff.”