Tri-State starts preparing for 2024 solar eclipse

Tri-State starts preparing for 2024 solar eclipse
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A solar eclipse is passing over the Tri-State in 2024 and preparations are underway. Community leaders gathered in Evansville to make sure they are ready.

This is the first time something like this has come to the Evansville area since a partial eclipse in 2017.

“If you saw the last one you really didn’t see what’s happening this next time because this next time’s going to be the big show, the real thing,” said Evansville Museum Director of Science Experiences Mitch Luman.

Community leaders from across the Tri-State and beyond met in Evansville on Wednesday to start coordinating their preparations. Visit Evansville hosted the meeting, which was attended by city officials and law enforcement alongside representatives from local museums and even zoos.

Local business owners also came, and say they are excited for the boost they hope to see for the eclipse.

“Having it impact most of the state of Indiana is huge for Indiana tourism, and so we’re really looking forward to that,” said Dunn Hospitality Group Regional Sales Director Mackenzie Black.

Organizers say there could be around 100,000 visitors in the region when it all goes dark. They say the point of the meeting was to make sure everyone’s efforts line up, and everyone’s ready to attract and accommodate visitors.

They say it will take everyone to make sure the area is ready.

“Not only do we want to promote the community as a destination to watch the eclipse, but we want the community to be prepared,” said Visit Evansville President Alexis Berggren. “We want them to be engaged. In a lot of ways, our own residents are going to be our best salespeople because we expect friends and family to be a huge portion of the visitors that come to the area.”

Organizers say the 2017 eclipse passed over more rural areas of the country and covered about 12 million people. The eclipse in 2024 will pass over more populated areas, over the heads of about 36 million people. This means there may not be as many traveling to see it, but they still expect a lot of visitors.

Visit Evansville says this could be a once-in-a-lifetime event for many, since the following viewable eclipse in the U.S. won’t happen until 2045.

“Only about once every 800 years can you expect to see an eclipse on any one place on Earth, and we get our shot on April 8th, 2024,” said Luman.

Organizers say the total solar eclipse will put the Tri-State in the dark for about three minutes, and those three minutes could have a significant impact on the area.