WEISER - Weiser is home to just a little over 5,500 people. A population that's expected to quadruple for one weekend this August. Weiser is one of the top cities in the country to witness the August 21st total solar eclipse.
The city is expecting anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 people to flock to the western Idaho town to catch a glimpse. The last time a total eclipse traveled across the United States from coast to coast was back in 1918.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Patrick Nauman said.
Nauman is on the Weiser Eclipse Committee, it's in charge of working with local agencies to help prepare the small community for the sudden influx of people.
"We have a city park, our memorial park, and our soccer fields. Pretty much in town where there's a large open space we are setting aside," Nauman said.
The total eclipse is expected to not only have an impact on Weiser, but the entire region. Nauman says all the hotels and campgrounds in Weiser are already booked; and many of them in the surrounding areas from Baker City to Nampa are filling up fast.
"We're coordinating with local area chambers of commerce from Baker to Fruitland and Payette and all places in between to make sure they are welcoming and ready as well too," Nauman said.
The city also plans to have a five-day eclipse festival leading up to Monday, August 21st. The festival will include vendors, arts and crafts, fiddlers, golf and fishing tournaments, among other things.
The National Solar Observatory out of New Mexico also plans to bring a telescope. It's a part of their Citizen CATE Experiment. It aims to capture images of the corona using 60 different telescopes. The goal is to produce unique sets of data. Weiser was one of the 60 cities selected.
"The climatologist tell us that that time of year, we have the best climate for observing the eclipse. We're going to get it for about two minutes and five seconds," Wil Overgaard said.
Overgaard, who also sits on the eclipse committee, says they're using this opportunity as a teaching lesson for all of their students.
"Our kids will be engaged in real research, and learn how to collect data, evaluate data," Overgaard said.
It's a little over two minutes that sheds some light on this little community.
"We're ready to be Idaho's ambassador for a weekend," Nauman said.
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