HERSHEY, Pa. - Time and again before Election Day, Donald Trump brought his campaign to central Pennsylvania, drawing thousands to packed rallies and promising his fervent supporters that he would be the first Republican presidential nominee in decades to win the state.

On Thursday, the president-elect stood again before such a crowd, this time thanking it for helping him deliver on the promise and capture the White House.

"This is the first time the Republican Party has won the state of Pennsylvania in almost 30 years," Trump said to a cheer. "We made history together. You propelled to victory a grassroots movement the likes of which the world has never, ever seen."

The Keystone State stop was the latest on a tour Trump has taken through battleground states that clinched his election. It came after similar thank-you rallies in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Trump's 44,000-vote victory in Pennsylvania - less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton - made his strength in central Pennsylvania all the more notable. He drew 61,000 more votes in south-central Pennsylvania last month than Republican Mitt Romney drew four years earlier, at the same time that Clinton collected 25,000 fewer than President Obama had in 2012.

Winter's first blast of bitter cold Thursday night didn't deter the crowd that packed the Giant Center, near the roller coasters of Hersheypark.

Inside the arena, a blue banner reading "Make America Great Again" circulated among the crowd, one dotted with supporters sporting the red baseball caps Trump made famous. Many female attendees held pink signs that read "Women for Trump."

Trump joked that the crowd seemed to have calmed a bit since his victory.

"Before the election, you people [were] like wild beasts," he told them. " 'We're going to win, we're going to win, Mr. Trump! We're going to win!' They're screaming: 'Jail! Jail! Prison!' "

As if on cue, a man began to shout: "Lock her up! Lock her up!"

Trump continued: "In other words, you've won, and you feel great about it, and you don't have to go totally wild, right?" he said, to a roar and then a cheer of "USA! USA!"

The president-elect also delivered a play-by-play account of the election night and its news coverage, concluding: "It was an amazing evening, and the people on ESPN, sports people, they said it was the single greatest event they've ever seen."

And he spoke about jobs, promising that "the era of economic surrender is over" and that business taxes will be lowered and regulations eliminated. Trump said he would ask Congress to support the construction of roads, bridges, airports, tunnels, and railways across the United States.

And he pledged to protect the nation from terrorism by suspending immigration and refugee admissions from "regions where they cannot be safely processed and vetted."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence introduced Trump, saying Americans will have a president who will rebuild the military, stand with law enforcement, fight to put people back to work, and replace Obamacare with free-market changes.

Denette and Bill Groff of Lancaster County arrived early to get spots near the front of the rally. Denette Groff said she thinks Trump's victory will mean big changes for the United States, and she likes his cabinet nominees.

"He's picking people that are going to stand up for us," she said. "Not just people that are going to follow the regular politics."

klangley@post-gazette.com 717-787-2141 @karen_langley