PAYSON, Utah -- The public got their first look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' new temple in Payson Friday, and the open house is expected to draw in hundreds of thousands of people to Payson before the temple's dedication on June 7.
As expected, it was a busy first day. Each hour, temple volunteers helped thousands through the gates to see inside for themselves.
More than 300,000 people have RSVP'd to get a glimpse inside. The mahogany wood lining the inside, chandeliers and stained glass windows were favorite aspects for most walking through. But for the locals in Payson, the apple orchard motif that celebrates the town's farming culture stands out.
"There used to be a lot of orchards in Payson, we had several; seeing it in the temple hit a special part in our heart," said Riley Alan of Payson.
The LDS Church expects people from all over the world to visit the open house. Volunteers are on hand to guide the hundreds of people who will walk through the temple each hour.
Local businesses in Payson are also seeing people flood through their doors.
"Payson is finally getting on the map. We're experiencing a lot more traffic, so we're hopeful," said Andrea Caussey, Owner of Polar Queen.
Caussey's restaurant has been in Payson for 60 years. For months, they've been preparing to serve more customers than ever before.
"We've actually hired a lot more people this year--almost a third more than last year," Caussey said.
They expect crowds to continue for the next month, as it is estimated 500,000 people will come to the city, which has a population of only 19,000.
"We're ready, we're excited," Caussey said.
The open house runs through May 23, excluding Sundays, and is free to the public.