Doniphan County is recruiting community members in an effort to start planning for August’s total solar eclipse that could bring in thousands of people to the area.
The solar eclipse will take place Aug 21. In Doniphan County, totality will last 2 minutes and 38 seconds, which makes it one of the most prime viewing areas. In order to get the maximum length of totality of 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds viewers would need to be slightly south of Carbondale, Illinois.
“The moon moves directly between the earth and the sun therefore blocking out the sun and casting its shadow on the earth. What’s special about this one is it’s a total eclipse,” said Dr. Ryan Maderak, Dir. of Benedictine College’s Astronomy Program. “It’s a very rare event. There hasn’t been one that’s touched any part of the continental U.S. since 1979.”
Dr. Maderak spoke Wednesday night at a public meeting at the Troy Community Building. More than 40 people attended the event. Adrienne Korson is the Dir. of Economic Development with Doniphan County. Korson said they are trying to get the community involved.
“The purpose of the meeting is to educate the public on what is happening and what the big deal is and to see if there is interest to help plan an event around the eclipse so the area, the businesses and the residents can have a memorable event and take advantage of the incoming traffic that might come in,” Korson said.
The City of St. Joseph is hosting watch locations around the area including a primary location at Rosecrans Memorial Airport. However, in order to get to Rosecrans, drivers will have to go through part of Doniphan County. Maderak said even if a fraction of the forecasted travelers expected in St. Joseph come to Doniphan County that could still be thousands.
“This being a once in a lifetime event it’s very difficult to gauge how many people might be coming here specifically. My understanding is St. Joseph is anticipating anywhere from 50 to 100,000 people,” Maderak said. “It’s important to emphasize that people literally travel from all over the world to view total solar eclipses. It’s a really big event. If for example you got just 1/20th of what St. Joe is getting that would still be over 2,000 people.”
The Doniphan County Economic Development Department is recruiting people to take part in committees and looking for business sponsorships.
“We should be expecting a lot of people coming in. We already have interest from Kansas City and the Baldwin areas,” Korson said. “Especially once we start to have plans in place I think people are going to be very excited to come to the area.”
Anyone interested in getting involved is asked to contact Adrienne Korson at (785) 985-2235 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org