The countdown has begun on the Great North American Eclipse and reservations are officially open. Less than three hundred and forty days until Perry County, Missouri will experience its second total solar eclipse in memory. Perryville will witness 3 minutes and 46 seconds and the most eastern parts of the county such as Frohna, Altenburg and Wittenberg will max out with 4 minutes 5 seconds of totality. This will be the last eclipse you will be able to witness in your lifetime, your children’s lifetime, or your grandchildren’s lifetime without leaving Missouri.
In 2017 the eclipse drew visitors to Perry County from thirty-six states and seventeen countries. These visitors were documented through our tourism office as they sought historic sites to visit, nighttime sky viewing areas, places to eat, special eclipse activities to participate in and things to do while they awaited the celestial event. They represented families of all sizes with children of all ages, students, professionals, retirees, amateur astronomers, and scientists alike. As eclipse chasers from many different walks of life from all over the world travel to our area to be within the path of totality once again we will welcome them with the hospitality that Perry County is famous for.
Already several months ago our lodging establishments started receiving calls and inquiries as to when they could make reservations. Some of those locations accepted early bookings whereas others could only book a year in advance. Parks and natural areas are also a huge draw. As our hotels, bed and breakfasts, Airbnb’s, and campgrounds book the last remaining reservations available for our area, other communities outside the path of totality will begin to fill the demands.
As for other businesses in the hospitality industry, for instance a winery or brewery. If you want to make a vintage wine or special brew for the event now is the time to start. Reservations are open and we want to know what your plans are so we can share those with visitors who are planning to spend the weekend in Perry County. Itineraries and schedules are being requested by group travelers as well. In 2017 we welcomed multiple buses of students from schools outside the path and several coach buses of eclipse chasing day-trippers. We have already booked a few of those for our public viewing destinations and anticipate many others joining them.
In 2017, one of our eclipse visitors said, “Today the path of totality intersected with the path of hospitality” wasn’t that a wonderful thing to say about our community. We look forward to seeing our eclipse friends join us again on April 8, 2024.
The next Perry County Eclipse Taskforce meeting for local planning will be held May 8, 2023, from 3pm-4pm at the Catalyst Center. To learn more about our local eclipse planning or to get involved contact: Trish Erzfeld at email@example.com.