Kentuckians devise "dark money" ideas to cash in on eclipse

A Kentucky town is bracing for a population boom thanks to an event some have described as winning the "cosmic lottery".

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky.  (WHAS11) -- The Eclipse scheduled for Aug. 21, 2017, is bringing a windfall of cash to the Bluegrass.

Hopkinsville has taken to their new identity as "Eclipseville" expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors, and it seems as though just about everyone in town is cashing in on the craze.

Up and down the streets you'll find a common sight in Hopkinsville, an official sticker naming businesses an “Eclipseville” business welcomes visitors to just about every store front in the Christian County town.

The foresight that went into the "Eclipseville" branding is about to pay a dividend, unlike anything this community has ever seen.

Distillers like Casey Jones are brewing up Eclipse moonshine. Hotel rooms are being booked for miles around, the legendary burger joint Ferrell's will be cooking outside and the city has public viewing areas packed with vendors. Many of those public viewing areas have no more tickets available.

But it's not just businesses cashing in, artists are as well. Many of them gathered in recently to learn how they can get in on the craze.

Jonathan Hoover was marketing for an artist he described as “a local Mennonite fella.” The artwork, made from old metal, was decorated with paint depicting an eclipse.

Jim Creighton owns a Hopkinsville business that makes custom tables.

“There are going to be how many thousand people here? Have they ever seen anything like this, an eclipse? I haven't, so they probably would want to have something to remember it by. Why not buy something to remember it by," asked Mr. Creighton.

Cashing in has trickled past Main Street into neighborhoods.

Brooke Jung, Solar Eclipse Marketing, and Event Consultant explained, “People are renting out their homes, their property. We have a lot of farmland here in Christian County so people are renting out their farmland to people who want to camp or just park their cars and view the eclipse there."

Ms. Jung said the estimated economic impact of this eclipse is $30 million.

Sure, it's costing some of those tax dollars to fund extra police, fire, utility, and city operating costs, but the influx of cash should be felt here for some time. Even more important to many in this community, this celestial event may give visitors a taste of other attractions “Eclipseville” has to offer and lure visitors back when they go back to just being good ole' "Hop-town.”

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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