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Donald Trump returns to Asheville, speaks to crowd at WNC Ag Center

Donald Trump is coming back to the North Carolina mountains for a rally in the presidential battleground state. The Republican presidential nominee was slated to address a midday crowd in Fletcher at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

FLETCHER, N.C. -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at the Davis Arena at the WNC Ag Center Friday.

A large crowd gathered to hear Trump's message at a rally that was calmer than his last visit, one month ago at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville.

RELATED LINK | 69-year-old woman punched in face by Trump supporter outside NC rally

Unlike at the last event, protesters were limited to a fenced-in area. Five protesters with Planned Parenthood arrived around 11 am, but left before the Trump's speech was over.

"He's spreading untrue information about abortion, open about not willing to support Roe v. Wade as president with folks he'd elect to Supreme Court," said Caitlan Wyatt of Planned Parenthood Action PAC NC.

Wyatt said she thinks there weren't as many protesters at Friday's event because it was farther from downtown Asheville.

The crowd was very excited, especially five seniors from East Henderson High School, who were trying to start chants in line.

Many people drove from hours away to be at the event.

Andrea Duke of Hendersonville, who was crowned Miss North Carolina USA 2008, specifically addressed allegations from other pageant contestants that Trump walked in while they were getting dressed.

"It couldn't have happened that way," Duke said of the pageant allegations. "He would have had to walk in on half of us or all of us, that's how we were divided into dressing rooms" Duke said about her experience in the 2008 pageant. "

"I have a hard time believing that because of the way the Miss Universe pageant is setup," Duke said, recalling the 2008 pageant. "We don't dress in individual dressing rooms, we all dress together. It's either half, all, or none of us that he could walk in on. The timing of these allegations--I think we have to question the legitimacy of them."

Duke also responded to questions about the recent allegations of sexual assault against Mr. Trump.

"I can't speak to those allegations," Duke said. "I'm not trying to diminish or devalue these women. If it did happen it's horrible, I just have to question validity of it. He's helped thousands of women. He's said some dirty comments and he shouldn't have, but I have to question whether he acted on those things."

Duke said she had nothing but cordial dealings with Trump, and that he was "nothing but a gentleman."

There were initial reports from security that the event hit capacity and organizers were forced to turn people away. But Chief Dennis Presley clarified Saturday morning that the event never reached capacity, which is 3,700 for a seated event. Standing, as this event was, the Davis Event Center could have a capacity around 5,000.

"We never got higher than around 3,100," Presley said. "We didn't have to turn anyone away. The metal detectors stayed up until Trump's speech was more than halfway over."

According to Board of Elections data, 7,479 Buncombe County residents voted on Thursday, the day before the rally, which was the first day of early voting in Buncombe County.

Including absentee votes, the Buncombe voting total is nearly 14,000 as of Friday morning.

News 13's exclusive interview with Donald Trump will air at 6 p.m.








UPDATE: This story was updated at 11 am Saturday, October 22 to reflect new information from the Skyland Fire chief on the event's attendance. The update also clarified Andrea Duke's statements as to which allegations she was responding.

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