Sarah Palin packs Five Points in Washington



Former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaking Saturday night at Five Points in Washington.

By Marc Strauss

Whatever you think of Sarah Palin she knows how to draw a crowd. On Saturday, at Five Points in Washington, that crowd numbered 1,100.

Ron and Hazel Dyar came to see Palin speak after she personally replied to a letter they'd sent her.

"We're so proud of it and we have shown this note to many, many people. They just think this is awesome," bragged Mrs. Dyar.

Palin's husband, Todd, accompanied her. And after receiving the key to the city the former governor of Alaska explained why Central Illinois is a key to the nation's future.

"A lot of the eyes of America are on this area looking at what it is that you're doing right," Palin told the crowd from the podium. "Perhaps it will help other communities emulate those things that have been successful here. It is such an honor for me to get to be here. I so appreciate the key to the city."

Palin's message while speaking at Five Points was entitled "You Don't Need A Title To Make A Difference". Her appearance drew plenty of people with titles.

"I really don't see why the controversy," said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. "Her message is fairly clear. Her message fits in pretty strong in Central Illinois I believe."

18th District Congressman Aaron Schock said Palin gets a reaction because she's not afraid to speak her mind.

"When you stand up for things and you say what you believe in you offend people any time you take a position. There are people who love her and there are people who don'.t," said Schock.

There were protesters too, fewer than a dozen outside where Palin spoke. She did not however speak to the media. And tickets to the event, ranging from $75 to $200, were in high demand.

":We cut the waiting list off at 200. And that was in the first 24 hours," said Cheryl West, who helped organize Palin's appearance.

" We saw her speak at the convention a couple of years ago and we've been fans ever since<" said Amanda Wright of Metamora, who attended the event with her husband.

Many of the people who paid to see Sarah Palin at Five Points would like to see her run for president in 2012. But the guest speaker wasn't talking about that.

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