Courthouse Square Ready For VP Visit

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SCRANTON -- Streets are closing down, and people are coming in as Independence Day festivities on courthouse square in Scranton feature a scheduled appearance by Vice President Joe Biden, a native of Scranton.

The main events -- remarks by the vice president, the philharmonic concert, and the fireworks -- take place this evening but the Independence Day celebration actually begins in the afternoon.

The early morning view of courthouse square in Scranton showed the beginning of a big day, and a day filled with changes.

The tents and the stage went up late Monday.  North Washington Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares downtown was closed.

As the staging appeared, other things needed for the day and evening appeared.

If it's anything like last year, thousands of people will be downtown to hear the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and watch the fireworks.

This year, an even larger crowd is expected due to the appearance of Scranton native Joe Biden.

At Gabby's Luncheonette on Linden Street, workers are looking forward to a busy day.

“If anything, maybe it will help us because all of those people are setting up out there,” said John Soentgerheh.  “They're going to get hungry.  They're going to be in the heat.  They'll want a coke or an iced tea.”

A small army of workers arrived just after sunrise. Soentgerheh said Gabby’s will have its usual closing time of 4 p.m.

Across the square, at Subway, things will be a little different.  The sandwich and pizza shop will take its act outside, to a tent on the street.  The manager expects the vice presidential visit to make the cash register sing.

“It's like the Italian festival because we always have a tent outside for that, so it's just like a regular business day and we make tons of extra money at  nighttime,” said Melissa Lininger.  

A festival with food and entertainment begins at 4 p.m.  The vice president is scheduled to be there at 7:30 p.m., with the concert and fireworks after that.

Streets around the courthouse are closed, and some others downtown will be shutting down later Tuesday.