Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - Updated: 9:33 AM
Tourism officials are putting their heads together on how to navigate the potential crowds associated with this year's solar eclipse.
The event, anticipated to take place Aug. 21, could bring crowds estimated between 50,000 and 200,000 visitors to the Trigg and Christian County region to view the phenomenon. Representatives from Hopkinsville Tourism, Land Between the Lakes, Lake Barkley State Resort Park and Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist and Convention Commission met Friday in Cadiz to discuss, marketing strategies, expectations and events leading up to the eclipse.
Robin Charles, executive assistant for the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said the city is preparing to host as many visitors as it is capable and is working to market the area. Hopkinsville Tourism joined forces with the city and county, which partnered to hire Brooke Jung to serve as the city's eclipse consultant to specialize in and streamline the process.
In addition, Charles said the city has launched its own website -- eclipseville.com -- to provide information related to the eclipse and is working to develop an app. The city has also partnered with local and regional media to promote activities and distribute information through text alerts and will print an Eclipse Guide in May.
The area has its share of activities to promote around the event, as well. Among those are annual favorites such as the Kelly Little Green Men Days Aug. 18-21 and the Summer Salute Festival Aug. 18-20, as well as some specialized events and newcomers. Charles said Hopkinsville will host its first-ever comic con -- dubbed EclipseCon -- to coincide with festivities Aug. 19-20 at the James E. Bruce Convention Center. The convention will serve as a fundraiser for the Hopkinsville Boys and Girls Club.
"Terrence Davis, who is the director of our Boys and Girls Club, is a big Comic Con (fan)," Charles said. "This was his idea, so we formed a committee, got this together. â ¦ We're doing it, and all the proceeds and everything will go back to the Boys and Girls Club. â ¦ There will be vendors there, people can wear their own costumes. It'll be something."
LBL officials are coordinating efforts in the recreation area, as well. LBL Communications representative Jennifer Wheatley said officials were planning for about 50,000 visitors in LBL during the eclipse.
Visitor safety was officials' top priority, she said. However, officials intend to open Fenton as a public only viewing area, and while the planetarium itself would not be opened, the West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers planned to man the observatory for the event.
"They are very focused on safety, exit from the property when the event is over, and just making sure people are safe on the ground," Wheatley said.
"There are some storytelling things at the Homeplace, how people of that era would have reacted to an eclipse, and â ¦ the West Kentucky Astronomers will be in the observatory, they'll be there to explain what's going on and all that."
Cadiz will be preparing to welcome visitors, as well. Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist and Convention Commission Executive Director Bill Stevens said the commission was working at present on identifying places to send visitors for best viewing opportunities, such as the Trigg Recreation Complex and school parking areas.
Hopkinsville scheduled a community forum to update residents on eclipse details for Tuesday. Discussion points were unavailable as of press time Tuesday.