The stage is set.

And organizers of the Democratic National Convention offered a sneak peek Friday when they invited reporters and about 2,000 others to see a transformed Wells Fargo Center.

"Welcome to Philadelphia!" Leah Daughtry, CEO of the convention committee, called out from the silver-blue stage flanked by LED screens. "There is no better city, no better backdrop, to showcase our party's values than the birthplace of American democracy."

The convention begins Monday afternoon, with "gavels down" marking the start of business at 3 p.m., but delegate meetings, parties, and events will run throughout each day all week long.

Hillary Clinton is expected to accept the nomination Thursday and will hold a rally on Independence Mall on Friday afternoon.

The city expects 6,000 delegates and alternates, 15,000 reporters, and from 30,000 to 50,000 protesters.

Around the arena Friday, 20-foot-long bags holding thousands of inflated balloons waited to be hung, producers milled about, and a police K-9 took a lap around the blue-carpeted floor. Parts of the stage spin, allowing the look to change from moment to moment.

Mayor Kenney's first reaction to the revamped home of the Flyers and 76ers came with a plug for city labor.

"Wow ... this is what you get when you use skilled union labor," Kenney said. "History is going to be made. We are going to nominate the first woman major candidate of the Democratic Party and she's going to go on to win in November and shatter that glass ceiling forever."

Kenney, who is slated to speak at the convention, said the message of the week will be "inclusion, diversity, acceptance."

He said he alternated among "laughter, sadness, and fear" watching the Republican convention.

A few hours after the "sneak peek," more than 2,000 people had lined up on the hot sidewalk outside the arena for a tour.

Lynn Brown, 64, wore a black "Dump Trump" T-shirt. The former Texan had opened up her Fitler Square home to a lawyer working with the Clinton campaign. That's how she found out about the event.

"I'm never going to be inside - ever - a convention center during a convention," Brown said. "And it is history. Now when I see [Clinton] on TV, I can say I know what it feels like."

Brown compared the experience to her visit to Mount Rushmore: "If I'm being honest, I thought it'd be a bore, kind of hokey, but actually, it was real nice."

Theresa Moore, 58, brought her 13-year-old daughter, Kenda, and her mother, 78-year-old Betty Moore.

The three generations of Moore women, from Williamstown, shuffled along with the crowd into the refreshing cool blast of the air-conditioned Wells Fargo Center and into a 100-level chute to get their first glimpse of the arena.

As the red, white, and blue lights came into view, oohs and aahs and camera phones rose up around them.

"Oh, that's beautiful, that's nice," Theresa Moore said.

"I wonder how much they paid for this," a woman nearby asked.

"I can't describe it," said Betty Moore, pausing to collect herself in the red seats where Oregon's delegation will sit. She was struck by the elaborate stage design and the impact of Clinton's nearing nomination.

"All my immediate family and sisters are dead; they didn't get a chance to see this, and if they could, it would mean so much to them," she said. "So I'm seeing it through my eyes for all of them. Now you've got me crying."