AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Three years after the Commander-in-Chief last visited Western New York, he's making a return trip to talk about the cost of higher education.
University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena is being scrubbed down for Thursday's presidential visit. President Barack Obama will fly into the airport at 10:30 Thursday morning before being ferried to UB's Amherst campus where he will speak to an audience at 11 a.m.
Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner said, "The committees' abuzz, folks are calling our headquarters constantly and we're getting a lot of positive vibes for this visit. It's a governmental visit; it's not a political visit."
Doors open to the public at 9 a.m. and free tickets are available to the public on a first come, first serve basis beginning Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Alumni Arena Box Office. The arena holds around 6,000 people but it is unknown how many tickets will be available. Each person can obtain one ticket, and that ticket can be given to someone else.
UB Spokesman John Della Contrada said, "It's a national spotlight on our university. It says a lot about the university that the president of the United States would come to deliver a message about quality education."
Late Monday afternoon, official helicopters were spotted around Western New York, specifically in the five o'clock hour refueling at Prior Aviation. A witness described them as two green United States helicopters that the president often travels on.
But once in Western New York on Thursday, President Obama is expected to travel on a black bus and the Secret Service is already scoping out the area.
Secret Service Agent Tracy Gast said, "We'll cover all the motorcade routes and all the sites he plans on visiting and provide a full range of security to keep him safe."
It's unknown if the president will make any additional stops in the area. When President Obama last visited Buffalo, he was on the campaign trail for re-election. He went to Duff's to pick up an order of chicken wings, and it created a memorable moment for Western New York, especially when Luann Haley delivered this infamous line:
"That he was a hottie with a smokin' little body. I didn't mean anything by my comment. It was all in fun. We were all having fun, and I'm sorry that people took it out of character."
Her remark made headlines around the world. So where may the president visit? Charlie the Butcher is right down the street from the big arrival and he's hoping the president stops by for a beef on weck.
Charles Roesch of Charlie the Butcher said, "We've been lucky enough to serve both Bushes the sandwich, not coming in but having a beef on weck, and President Clinton after he left office was sent in here by his wife."
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