WEISER, IDAHO - There is just four days left until the total solar eclipse, but the party is already getting started Weiser.
The small Idaho town is ramping up for its four-day celebration, where thousands are expected to turn out.
Right now, it’s the calm before the storm.
The farmers market is being set up and there is going to be live music tonight. And a traveling planetarium is going up in the depot.
Patrick Nauman is the chairman of the Weiser Eclipse Festival. He characterized tonight as sort of a “soft opening” compared to what will start Friday and this weekend.
“I'm surprised it's so calm the town itself, but the road coming in was already slow, it took longer than it normally does,” said vendor Sherry Weaver.
Not many tourists had trickled in as of Thursday afternoon.
So local shops were using the down time to prepare for what they call the “party of the millennium.”
“There are some restaurants in town that are doing things. I have an eclipse sandwich inside my deli, we also created the now “world famous eclipse cookie” out of our candy store, and our eclipse cookie is a chocolate sugar cookie filled with a lemon truffle,” said Nauman who owns Weiser Classic Candy. “This will be a party like Weiser has never thrown before.”
More than 60 vendors will set up shop on Friday, but Christina Gilleys and Sherry Weaver say they are trying to get an early start today.
“We hope there is lots of people that show up,” said vendor Christina Gilleys.
“As far as in the United States, Weiser is the place to be to see the eclipse,” said Nauman. “There's a reason why the National Solar Observatory rated us as the number two spot in the nation to view the eclipse from, and it's because of our historical weather patterns on August 21st.”
Nauman says when it comes to an influx of people, this isn’t the town’s first rodeo, as the annual fiddle festival brings about 15,000 people into town, but he expects the crowd this weekend and Monday to be five times that.
“I think it's going to be a little bit of a zoo, but I think it's going to be such a fervor pitch, and the thing about it is, the eclipse provides and creates a feeling just kind of well-being anyway, and so with everything else going on in the world, if everyone can come together at this one time and stop and observe Mother Nature in her finest, there is no better way to do it,” said Nauman.
“I think it's gonna be big, it's great for Weiser though, it's a great town,” said Weaver.
Starting Friday, the beer garden will open at 3 p.m. Again, there will be more than 60 vendors, along with a car show, mud volleyball and street dancers.
We are told there are still some campsites available on private land.
For a complete list of all the happenings in Weiser this weekend, click here.
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