CarolinaFest good to business owners

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Sheldon Schreiber couldn't be happier with today's turnout at Harvest Moon Grille.

"We were busy for dinner last night, slammed for breakfast..." he says. And the crowds came again for lunch. "It's a real big party and everybody's invited."

While the convention doesn't officially start until Tuesday, the celebration certainly started on Labor Day, and the first event was all about access. Everyone was invited to CarolinaFest, and Charlotte's streets still felt fairly approachable.

Security will tighten tomorrow, but Erin Donahough says, "Its a lot of fun down here right now."

Living uptown, she's heard of a lot of people who wanted to get out of dodge. "Well, we wanted to come and get into it," Donahough says, laughing.

A few businesses felt forced to close. Others adapted by selling food from tents on Tryon.

And for some entrepreneurs like Ms. Diane, A.K.A. the funnel cake lady, this is a dream opportunity.

"It is. I've been trying to get my business recognized all over the United States," she says.  "What I really want to do is make an Obama cake, and I really want to get it known."

She worked with the Host Committee early on to nab this space.  On Monday afternoon, her five dollar funnel cakes were flying.

There is some concern that the story could change tomorrow, when security gets really tight. Stories have been flowing up from Tampa about some bitterly disappointed businesses.@