by: Torie Wells Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
In just a few days, the world will be watching the Time Warner Cable Arena as people like Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton give speeches during the Democratic National Convention.
You could see the twinkle in people’s eyes as Charlotte residents became almost like tourists in their own city. Many were in awe of how the world will see their arena.
"It looks great. It's going to make Charlotte look great," said Brian Francis, from Charlotte.
"Beautiful, like nothing I ever seen before in my life," said Tony Hillian, from Salisbury.
In seven weeks, the area has been transformed and on Friday, about 4,000 people were expected to take a tour.
The DNCC and the mayor said opening the doors to the public is part of its effort to make this the most open and accessible convention.
"To see this set up and see what democracy looks like at this level, I think it's an amazing civics lesson for so many people," said Mayor Anthony Foxx.
When you walk inside the arena, the stage and podium are at one end. Eyewitness News was told the stage is built with material that can be used again.
Behind the podium, which comes up from the floor, are multiple screens that will be used during the speeches.
Designers said they've made the stage so the speaker is closer to the delegates and the delegates can view the speeches from all three sides. North Carolina is seated right up front.
Eyewitness News met families, people who work uptown and students on the tour, as well as some visitors from out of town.
"It's a great opportunity to see history as it happens," Francis said.
"I am very proud," Hillian said.
The DNCC said it is, too, as it watches its vision come to life.
Foxx said he's proud a lot of the work was done by local people and that millions of eyes will see it.
"Today marks the beginning of the world’s introduction to Charlotte," Foxx said.