DES MOINES, Iowa -- It`s an almost unprecedented list for Saturday`s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines that features two former governors in Lincoln Chafee and Martin O`Malley, a current U.S. Senator in Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State and First Lady Hilary Clinton and Iowa Democratic Party Chair Dr. Andy McGuire is eager for it to happen. "It's a wonderful time to hear what they have to say, and their vision for the future. We really have progressive values and so how can they really move that forward for Iowa families?" said McGuire.
Piling on will be the star power of former President Bill Clinton along with pop star Katy Perry`s free downtown concert in the east parking lot along 5th Avenue. Dr. McGuire said, "It just doesn't get much better than this is what I tell people. This is so wonderful because we can highlight what we are doing and that is finding the best president to be the next president."
It`s also quickly became larger than life and a big security task for the Des Moines Police Department. "The Katy Perry appearance kind of threw us for a curve because that is not something we typically see at these political rallies so it was a new piece we had to figure out how to manage," said Sergeant Paul Parizek.
Adding to the mayhem, Bernie Sanders` camp expects several thousand supporters will be marching from the armory parking lot across the Women of Achievement Bridge and up to Hy-Vee Hall prior to Saturday night`s dinner. Sgt. Parizek said, "We will have a large group of people in a small geographical area so there will be a significant presence to make sure people are safe and traffic flows but yeah to plan where we will place people, it sometimes makes it challenging for us."
It seems like a daunting task, but it could easily have been tougher if Vice President Joe Biden had not made his decision earlier Wednesday, to not enter the presidential race. McGuire said, "Vice President Biden is so wonderful and a civil servant and when he made his decision, we were ready. We rolled with it, we are flexible."
Behind all of that pomp and circumstance, Des Moines police officers say no matter where your political beliefs lie, a few things are certain to be bipartisan, "Come early, use the parking ramps and be prepared to walk a little bit but it will be good."
Martin O'Malley will also be holding his own concert at 3:30pm on Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium Plaza. Des Moines city officials say numerous roads around Hy-Vee Hall will be closed. A list of those closures can be found at whotv.com under the "On 13" tab.