SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Downtown South Bend was a buzz all Saturday afternoon with growing excitement for Mayor Pete Buttigieg's big announcement on Sunday.
“Someone who has been a mayor of a small town and really brought a new life to it, even if you have issues with some of his policies, I think it's a refreshing burst of new air,” Notre Dame student Kylie Ruscheinski said.
It wasn't just the sunny day in South Bend that had people out and about, but rather the city was on alert on the eve of an expected presidential announcement.
“He just talks in a way that's not alienating that's like familiar,” Notre Dame student Abby Ferguson said. “Of course you have Chasten all over Twitter, which really helps him a lot I have to say.”
People from all over the country have arrived in town for Mayor Pete including one couple all the way from Denver who were inspired by Buttigieg's South by Southwest appearance.
“When someone comes through and can speak in a calm and intelligent way, I think a lot of people go, ‘oh wouldn't that be nice,’” Denver resident Len Edgerly said.
Len’s wife Darlene said she hasn't felt this way about a candidate since President Obama's first campaign.
“I hear this Mayor Pete and I think ‘oh my god, I would work for him in a heartbeat!’” Denver resident Darlene Determan said. “So it's amazing to find someone else that you would feel this way about.”
Peggs restaurant has gone viral on social media with their custom shirts and unique menu items.
“We were excited about everything that's going on here and continue to feel the momentum building,” Peggs co-owner Peg Dalton said.
It's a favorite spot of Buttigieg's.
He even stopped in on Saturday morning
“Pete is so gracious and kind,” Dalton said. “He comes in and he is just like a normal person, which is how he's always been here.”
So why do people in South Bend think Pete Buttigieg has been able to resonate across the country?
“Genuineness is a lot of it and vision,” Kelli Coppola said.
“A lot of things with youth is that we accept each other's differences and that's definitely a lot of what Pete Buttigieg does,” South Bend resident Lizzie Graff said.
“His brilliance,” South Bend resident Mary Mathews said. “His thinking things through of what needs to be done.”
Many people NewsCenter16 spoke with Saturday talked about how excited they were to witness history for Buttigieg's announcement.