HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Under a sun-drenched sky, Hopkinsville’s main drag was readied for the world.
This town that declared itself "Eclipseville" was finally ready for their moment in the dark. Vendors opened in the center of town, music echoed through the streets and cars with out-of-state tags rolled into the western Kentucky town.
Although there are estimates that a few hundred thousand people will pack Eclipseville which is typically home to 30,000 souls, no one can say for certain whether the number of actual visitors will live up to the hype.
Melissa Kusterle was taking in the sights with her family. When asked whether she thought the estimates will prove correct, she said, “I don't know but I guess we'll see in a couple of days.”
If there was any doubt that people would come to Hopkinsville at all, that was answered at noon Central Time when the first camper showed to DeBow Park. Noon was when they could check in for the first time.
A duo arrived about 1 am from Toledo, Ohio. They proudly signed in as the first in line when campers were allowed to check in.
“It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” explained Daniel Barron who was first to check-in. “I would say that almost every person who sees it it's the biggest event of their life and changes your life.”
Barron added that the event had already begun to change his.
As Barron and others took their spots in what they hope will be a celebratory crowd, a sea of tranquility, one question, one wish remained.
And what would you know? We found just the guy to ask for insight.
Randy Waller stands out in the crowd. At well over six feet tall, he’s decked in red. His jolly white beard accents a welcoming smile.
Waller, who is also known in this community as “Santa”, was more than willing to listen to our wish list. Would we see the sun on Eclipse Day?
“The weather’s going to be perfect,” said Weller.
“It's going to be like today, right now,” he said (it was in the mid 80’s with bright sunshine).
“Santa is going to deliver?” we asked.
“Yes sir! Absolutely!” he exclaimed. “You got my present. Ho, ho, ho.”
So here's to hoping the jolly ol' fella is right and there’s sunshine and not a lump of coal on Monday.