HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. - Hopkinsville, Kentucky is set to be the center of the action next August, where a full solar eclipse is expected to last for two minutes and 40 seconds.
Astronomers say Hopkinsville will be the best place to watch it, and the Hopkinsville Convention and Visitors Bureau isn't wasting the opportunity to showcase their town.
Monday, work began on a new visitors center in Hopkinsville. They hope to have it finished by the end of the year, so they can get ready for anywhere between 25 ,000 and 100,000 visitors flocking to the town next August to see the once-in-a-lifetime eclipse.
The convention and visitors bureau has already bought 104,000 eclipse viewing glasses for people who show up, and they worry that may not be enough. The city has also installed 11 road signs around town which herald Hopkinsville as a prime eclipse watching spot.
The bureau says most of the hotels in Hopkinsville have already been booked for the eclipse day, with people planning to come from as far away as China to watch.
Beyond the $20 to 50 million expected economic impact, city leaders say they hope some newcomers will make return trips back to Hopkinsville.
“It's a chance for folks to come here who wouldn't have been here otherwise, to say ‘I want to come back here for vacation,’ some may say ‘I want to retire here,’” said Tab Brockman with Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation.
Hopkinsville will celebrate the event with a three-day festival before the eclipse day on August 21, 2017.