GERING, Neb. — Nebraska’s milestone 150th birthday next year could be overshadowed by a celestial event 4.5 billion years in the making.
Representatives of the Nebraska Eclipse Coalition, an organization formed to promote the state as a top travel destination for the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse, said the eclipse will be the top tourism event in the state next year.
Lora Young, executive director of the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce, said nine of the 10 Nebraska communities that comprise the coalition will have some of the longest views of the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the nation in 99 years. They are Scottsbluff, Gering, Alliance, North Platte, Kearney, Hastings, Grand Island, Lincoln and Beatrice. Omaha is not in the direct path of the moon’s shadow but joined the group because it will be a gateway city for thousands of people traveling to Nebraska to view the eclipse.
“More than 200 Nebraska communities and nearly 30,000 square miles, or nearly 40 percent of Nebraska, lie within the path of totality of the solar eclipse,’’ Young said at the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference.
Experts have said Nebraska is expected to be one of the top viewing locations in the United States because of its open skies.
Community tourism officials said motor coach groups and other delegations from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, England and Germany, among others, have already made reservations.
More information about lodging, special viewing events, the best viewing areas and more can be found online at neclipse17.com.
Nebraska celebrates 150 years of statehood on March 1, 2017. Events and activities are planned across the state during the year.