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Richmond, Ind., is in the path of totality for 2024's eclipse. Short-term rentals are already booked up

an outstretched arm holds up a thin black paper to safely view an eclipse in the middle of the day
Bill Rinehart
Viewing the last eclipse in Cincinnati's Washington Park in 2017.

Next April, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, creating an eclipse visible across much of the U.S., including Indiana and Ohio. Richmond, Ind., is in the path of totality, and the community has been planning for an influx of visitors since last October.

Nancy Sartain with the Richmond Wayne County Regional Tourism Bureau says it should be a big event.

"We've been working closely with Hopkinsville, Kentucky, just because the 2017 eclipse went through there. And they're just about the same size as Richmond and our county. They had about 116,000 people," she says. "So, we're estimating about 100,000."

She says Hopkinsville tourism officials have been very helpful with tips and advice. "They purchased 150,000 solar eclipse glasses to give out to their locals and visitors, and we're going to do the same."

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Sartain says the county is in the process of setting up viewing sites, and looking to rent porta-potties for the crowds.

"We're hoping that our Richmond Municipal Airport will be a location. And then up around Hagerstown, Indiana, they actually have an airport up there as well — it's actually a grass airport; their local golf course. We're not just going to have one or two. We're going to have various sites."

Sartain says they're getting several viewing sites set up, because they're worried about congestion. "We are planning a full weekend of festivities, starting on Saturday."

Sartain says much is still in the planning stages but there are lots of space-oriented activities. "Items that we do know about: at the Cope Environmental Center they're having an indoor interactive space walk; at Indiana University-East they're going to have a space dome and an interactive planet walk to scale, and then public stargazing; and then at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History at Earlham College campus they have a small planetarium," she says. "The Richmond Symphony Orchestra will have a concert that weekend, and it will all be space-themed music.

"Those are the things that we know about, but there's so much more in the works."

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She says all of Richmond's short-term house rentals are already booked, but hotels and campsites still have openings.

Sartain says they'll be targeting their advertising in Cincinnati and southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and northern Michigan. The eclipse is April 8, 2024.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.