GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The North Carolina GOP Convention kicked off Thursday with a welcome reception.

The convention is being held at the Greenville Convention Center, with different events happening throughout the weekend. The Pitt County Republican Party chairman said he’s looking forward to finally hosting the convention in Greenville after last year’s events were canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It brings a lot of revenue to Greenville,” said Gary Weaver. “It brings a lot of business and people in that have not been here to show them what we have to offer.”

Weaver and the Pitt County Republican Party are expecting between 1,500 and 2,500 people per day at the convention. Weaver said this is great for local businesses struggling amid the pandemic.

“Those people need gas,” he said. “They need places to sleep and they need food. And that brings a good tax base in, especially with the small businesses recovering from COVID, that is something that we really need.”

The weekend is packed full of different events, including a state dinner on Friday night featuring Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and other state leaders as speakers. On Saturday night, former President Donald Trump will speak at the convention dinner. It will only be open to the people who attend the event. No press or broadcast on the internet is scheduled, officials said.

“I hope President Trump brings unity together with the members that are running for Congress, state positions and other things like that and shows that we can all get along and we need to work for the betterment of this country,” said Weaver.

Weaver wants to remind people that this event is not for President Trump. It’s about the local and state Republican parties.

“I know a lot of people said that President Trump was divisive,” said Weaver. “He’s not. We need to get behind whoever our candidate is and support him 100 percent.

“This is not just President Trump. This is the Grand Old Party, the Republican party to show that we’re united and we get together and we move forward for a better America.”

Weaver is expecting several people to announce their candidacies for office at this weekend’s events.