CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Before Monday night's convention session, delegates came together to enjoy food, drinks, and live music in Freedom Plaza.
"It's nice to come from Tennessee to here and listen to the band," said delegate Donna Desopo.
The Swon Brothers headlined the night, singing their own songs and also hit country classics while guests danced, sang along, and took pictures.
"I think this is a once in a lifetime experience that we will definitely tell our kids about. It's kind of a 'pinch me' experience because I don't think there will ever be a convention like this again," said Minnesota delegate Jamie Knippel.
It's an historic week that's bringing a lot of attention to Cleveland.
"(The Cleveland Cavaliers) won the NBA finals and then turned around and did this. Yeah, we're really impressed with Cleveland," said Minnesota delegate Kip Knippel.
It's no surprise out-of-state delegates are impressed with Cleveland. On Monday night, Freedom Plaza was packed with people enjoying food and conversation. Everyone said they're not taking the experience for granted.
"I feel like Charlie when he opened up the Willy Wonka the wrapper and saw he had the golden ticket," said Desopo.
Inside Freedom Plaza delegates got to shop. Vendors set up tents inside Progressive Field, selling RNC glasses and other GOP goods.
Although everyone said they were enjoying the entertainment, they also said they're looking forward to this week's speakers.
"I think we're looking forward to night three when we get to see Rubio and Cruz and the whole contingency of people who ran with Trump," said Jamie Knippel.
Outside Freedom Plaza people also enjoyed the atmosphere.
"We were dead a few years ago and now we're alive," said local William Hart.
Not only is Cleveland alive, this week it's full of people from around the country. Dozens of people crowded E. 9th St. Monday. Some people snapped pictures and took videos, others tried making a buck while selling special Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton cereal, RNC hats and stuffed animals.
"I saw Newt Gingrich, but I couldn't talk him into buying one of these. Matt Lauer, I ran up to him with a doll, but unfortunately I had the donkey instead of the elephant, so I had to put it back," said Neil Zipser, who traveled from Raleigh, North Carolina to Cleveland to sell items at the RNC.
Network newscasts are being filmed in downtown Cleveland all week. The crews built sets, brought in cameras and big screen televisions. People in town said they're having fun spotting famous faces.
"We've seen Doctor Cornel West, and the biggest was Tig from Benghazi," said Christine Portnoff.
Locals and visitors alike said they're impressed with Cleveland and they're fully enjoying the historical week.
"Cleveland has been very welcoming and very nice," said John Berry.
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