Henderson officials continue to prepare for the solar eclipse that will pass over the area on April 8.
The Henderson Tourist Commission is in the middle of a marketing campaign attempting to attract people who may want to avoid bigger crowds and lots of traffic.
Additionally, Dixon said the local tourist commission has placed print ads in regional publications in cities that are deemed an easy drive up to Henderson. And Dixon has also been in contact with travel writers with hopes of getting Henderson placed in articles. The local commission also has a search engine marketing campaign in place, she said.
She’s also been in contact with an editor from NBC pitching a story idea about how small towns, including Henderson, are embracing the eclipse.
She said it’s estimated that 80,000 people will pass through the Evansville metropolitan area for the eclipse. That number includes both people stopping in the area to view the eclipse and those moving on to other places to watch, Dixon said.
Dixon said it would be difficult to track all those who stop to watch here because there’s no way to count those who stopped to watch and then drove back home in the same day. She did say that the tourist commission will receive reports after the eclipse from South Travel Research which will show occupancy rates of local hotels.
Three local venues will host viewing gatherings, including Boucherie Winery, Ellis Park and Farmer and Frenchman, Dixon said. She also said that other local businesses are planning to hold specials in connection with the eclipse.
Planning meetings have been occurring in Henderson for about 1 ½ years now, said Dixon. Much of that planning centers around ensuring the city and county are safe environments for the influx of expected people and have included emergency service departments and city and county officials, Dixon said.
Local parks where viewing should be optimal include Red Banks Park and Community Park, and the golf course at Audubon State Park.
Local schools will be closed on April 8, a Monday.
According to a NASA website, www.science.nasa.gov, the eclipse will begin in Evansville at 12:45 p.m. It will move into a total eclipse from 2:02 p.m.-2:05 p.m. with the maximum totality occurring at 2:04. After that, the eclipse will move back to a partial phase before completely ending locally at 3:20 p.m., said the website.
The eclipse will enter the United States in Texas and follow a northeasterly route, through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, said the website.
The next local planning meeting for the eclipse will be 11 a.m. March 15 at the upstairs meeting rooms at the Henderson County Public Library. The public is invited, Dixon said.