Clinton Sighting in Rhinebeck on Eve of Wedding

By Tracie Strahan and Jillian Scharr
|  Saturday, Jul 31, 2010  |  Updated 9:45 AM EDT
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Chelsea Clinton Through The Years

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The (non)secret of Chelsea's wedding is officially over.
       
Former President Bill Clinton strolled up the main street in Rhinebeck shortly after noon today, the day before his daughter is to marry Marc Mezvinsky at the much-ballyhooed wedding at a private estate.

        The former president, looking relaxed in blue jeans and a black knit shirt, walked with security a few blocks north from the picturesque village's main intersection to Gigi Trattoria, whose chef is rumored to be catering tonight's rehearsal dinner.
       
To questions blurted from the huge crowd he attracted, Clinton fired off easy answers. They're all fine, they love Rhinebeck, Chelsea loves Rhinebeck, too.
       
Of his future son-in-law, he said he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton like and admire him. Sightings of the former first daughter in the swanky upstate town have yet to be reported, however.

"I"m sure she would rather it be low-key, but when you're an ex-president's daughter you have to consider it's part of your territory," a Rhinebeck citizen told NBCNewYork.

And that territory will apparently be restricted -- the FAA has announced that airspace over the Rhinebeck area of the Hudson River will be restricted from Saturday afternoon until early Sunday morning. This, naturally, has added fuel to the still unconfirmed but prevailing rumor that Rhinebeck will host the wedding.

"Rhinebeck has never seen this kind of activity surrounding any type of event," the town's mayor, Jim Reardon, told NBCNewYork.  But he loves the free advertising.  "Madison Avenue would charge us millions for what we're getting for free." 

It's not quite "free," however. The town's police budget has been increased to provide extra security at the wedding, which will come out of residents' taxes, according to published reports.

But after all that, the mayor couldn't even confirm the wedding would happen in his town. 

"I have never been advised or have any confirmation that this is in fact happening, but I think it's pretty obvious that it is.  But if not, a lot of people went through a lot of trouble to put up a smokescreen," said Reardon.

It's estimated that the entire wedding will carry more than a $3 million price tag.  And that's certainly not the only reason they're calling it the "big day." Some of America's biggest stars will probably be there, and residents are ready to scope out a who's who of celebrity wedding guests. 

"Oh man, I'd love to see Bill Clinton," one Rhinebeck resident gushed.  "He's gorgeous."

Celebrities rumored to be in attendance include Oprah, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand -- all of that and a blushing bride dressed in ... well, that's another thing. Chelsea Clinton's wedding dress is still a mystery as well. 

She was seen visiting a Vera Wang bridal shop on Tuesday afternoon, Women's Wear Daily reportedBut NBCNewYork has heard that Oscar de la Renta was also an option.

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