Being Ready, For an Onslaught of Eclipse-Viewers

BEATRICE – Having worked on the project for several months, even organizers of events associated with the full solar eclipse next August, don’t know how large the visitor crowd will be.

The Beatrice area is in the middle of a diagonal path across the U.S., where a total solar eclipse will be seen for the longest period next August 21st…about two minutes or so, at around 1:02 p.m.

:14                  “kind of elusive”

President of the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce Lora Young and Superintendent of the Homestead National Monument of America Mark Engler says making a crowd estimate is a guess, but the area could see more visitors than any other recent event.   Engler says the monument hears the interest in the eclipse on a weekly basis.

:24                  “the eclipse”

Interest has come from international points such as Japan, Scotland, England and Germany.

Young says her biggest fear is parking and traffic tie-ups, around the day of the darkening.

:30                  “in this town”

The Beatrice Mayor and City Council Monday night heard about plans to capitalize on the celestial event, including community events towns are encouraged to hold.  Young says it will be important for businesses to adjust their schedules for what could be a three to ten-day stay by some visitors.

:37                  “the weekend”

Young says nearly every day, the chamber is getting a phone call, an e-mail or Facebook message from people planning to come to view the event.  That’s also the case on a statewide website established to promote eclipse viewing.

Young says eye safety will be a critical issue during the event, and the chamber has purchased some 26,000 special glasses through which viewers can safely observe the eclipse.  Watching the eclipse without special glasses while it is in the partial stages, can cause permanent damage.

:16                  “really key”

The eclipse, August 21st, takes place on a Monday, beginning at about 11:30 a.m. and ending at around 2:30 p.m.

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