Eclipse

Crowds fill downtown Casper for the May art walk. The city is preparing for 35,000 visitors during the eclipse.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

For years, local officials have prepared to handle the day that Casper's population is expected to swell by half.

They've mapped traffic plans, organized events and scheduled first aid tents. But local residents, too, can prepare for the crowds.

Casper is considered one of the country’s best places to view the eclipse because it is in the path of the totality of the celestial event. Visitors from around the country and the world are expected to arrive in town on the days leading up to the eclipse. 

Eclipse festival organizers expect 25,000 visitors to stay in the city during the eclipse festival, which runs Aug. 18 to 21, the day of the event. They expect another 10,000 to pass through or visit for the day.

Local officials have been prepping for years for the eclipse, its festivities and its expected crowds. But residents are advised to think ahead as well.

Here's what officials say local residents in any area where the eclipse will appear in full can do to minimize headaches:

  • Stock up on groceries the weekend before. Aisles will be crowded and lines will be long once tens of thousands of extra people show up in town.
  • Fill prescriptions early.
  • Avoid scheduling routine or non-essential medical appointments on the days around the eclipse. Medical resources will likely be stretched.
  • Need your vehicle inspected? Or a background check run? Try to complete these tasks early as law enforcement will likely be tied up during the days leading up to the event.
  • Plan extra travel time if you intend to drive anywhere in town or on large highways.
  • Expect cell phone service and internet to be less reliable as tens of thousands more people attempt to use local towers and bandwidth.
  • Get cash ahead of time as lines for ATMs may be long.

Audrey Gray, public health preparedness manager with Casper-Natrona County Health Department, said officials are not expecting issues with the electrical grid or water. However, she said residents should have enough food and water on hand to last their household for three days, though people should have such supplies stocked year round anyways.

Pretending as though the festival and its tens of thousands of attendees won't affect all of Casper just isn’t an option, Anna Wilcox, head of the Wyoming Eclipse Festival, previously said.

“There’s nobody that’s going to be able to hide from it,” she said.

For more information geared toward Casper residents, including a transit guide, check out the Wyoming Eclipse Festival website at eclipsecasper.com/casperresidentresources. Questions can also be directed to the city's eclipse hotline at 307-235-7568.

Follow crime and courts reporter Elise Schmelzer on Twitter @eliseschmelzer

 

 

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