A Kentucky town is bracing for a population boom thanks to an event some have described as winning the "cosmic lottery."
Local leaders in Hopkinsville are bracing for anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 visitors on eclipse day. That's like forecasting 2 to 12 inches of snow, but unlike trying to narrow down the path and power of a snowstorm there is no doubting the promised path of this event.
Come rain or shine the sky will turn dark on August 21, 2017, and Hopkinsville is preparing for its big day.
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A new mural welcomes visitors to the Christian County community that has dubbed itself “Eclipseville”. It seems as though everyone is talking about the eclipse and preparing to capitalize on it with all sorts of souveniers and swag.
"When you think about Derby time in Louisville, this is like our Derby without building Churchill Downs”, said marketing consultant Brooke Jung. “This is like we're hosting a Super Bowl without having to build a stadium. So this is something that we're really embracing and we're so excited about and proud of.”
Mrs. Jung is one of the marketing experts behind the "Eclipseville" branding that has people from at least 16 countries and 36 states making a pilgrimage to this spot.
They've set up several public viewing areas for visitors and some have sold out. The economic impact is estimated at $30 million. Hopkinsville, as State Senator Whitney Westerfield put it, won the “cosmic lottery”.
The town will experience as much time in the dark on eclipse day as any place on earth at 2 mins 40.1 seconds.
Mrs. Jung insists that they’re preparing for any possible emergency as well.
“We are making a lot of preparations to ensure we have all of our plans in place for any sort of situation that might arise”, she said. "We're working on a state level to bring in additional Kentucky State Police and bringing in additional reinforcements on a regional level, but also on a state level because we want to make sure, you know, this is a state wide event.
The solar eclipse actually goes through 13 different counties in the State of Kentucky so making sure that all of our communities are ready for what's coming”, said Jung.
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