Newnan, Georgia is a small city southwest of Atlanta with a population averaging 33,000 people. Residents of Newnan describe their small city as quiet, hardly a city that is considered newsworthy, but on Saturday, it will be difficult to avoid the spotlight.

Newnan is bracing for the annual gathering of the Nationalist Socialist Movement, the largest white supremacist and neo-Nazi group in America. The group of 50-100 white supremacists will be marching through downtown Newnan in celebration of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s birthday. The meeting will start on Friday and the march will begin on Saturday at the town center.

Police are gearing up for potential violence, especially after the incident in Charlottesville, Virginia. When a speeding car slammed into counter-protesters during a “Unite the Right” rally, killing one and injuring 19 protesters. City officials of Newnan, Georgia ordered barricades and fencing before Friday’s gathering to avoid another tragic incident. Police and officials are expecting and preparing for the worst.

Residents of Newnan are shocked that this level of hate is in their city. “It’s really shocking to me,” a business owner told the local CBS News channel. “It brings it all to life of the reality what’s going on.”

Local businesses take a stand against hate

Police warned local business owners in the area where the event will take place, to put anything away that could be thrown or be damaged.

Police also warned to blockade storefront windows, and many shop owners decided to close their doors early and shutter their windows.

But some store owners are taking a stand against hate. Small and local business owners described this year as a hard financial hit on businesses, and Saturday is the busiest day of the week for shop owners. The majority of the local stores cannot afford to close up early, so they developed a plan.

During the white supremacist gathering and march on Friday and Saturday, store owners are staying open later than usual. Through social media accounts, businesses and local groups will be promoting events such as musical performances or signing up for upcoming 5K races, in an effort to take the spotlight off of the White Nationalist group.

Backstreet Community Arts, a non-profit organization, is asking local children to come to the city park to cover the ground with hearts, flowers, rainbows, anything the kids can imagine. Backstreet Community Arts said in a statement to CNN: “It will be hard for the hate group to take a serious video when a rainbow-colored unicorn is in the shot.”

The number of hate groups are on the rise

Since the 2016 election, there has been an increasing number of hate crimes in America. A study released by the Southern Poverty Law Center declared as of 2017 that 954 hate groups are operating in the United States. Hate crimes in the U.S. have risen by 20 percent since the Trump election.