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Bayfront Aerial at Sunset given with permission from photog Patrick Grab resize

Erie’s Total Solar Eclipse: It’s Our Time to S.H.I.N.E.!

Thursday Mar 7th, 2024

As anticipation and excitement build for Erie’s total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, the region braces for an influx of visitors eager to witness this rare celestial event. According to NASA, the 2024 total solar eclipse is poised to be a significant event, boasting the longest period of totality on land for over a decade. It will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States until 2044. That means eclipse chasers from around the world are expected to visit destinations in the path of totality.

An estimated 56,000 to 200,000 visitors are anticipated to travel to Pennsylvania, with the majority heading north to Erie. If Erie sees even the low number of projected visitors, it will become the third-largest city in the Commonwealth for that day, almost doubling in population, and will be Erie County’s largest tourism-related event in recent memory. This is the perfect opportunity for the community to put its best foot forward to welcome eclipse visitors and make this event a shining success.

Here are five simple things residents can do to help the Erie region prepare.

S - Schedule your appointments for another day.


Were you thinking about scheduling a hair appointment or do you have a standing Monday appointment? Do your kids have activities planned for that day? Take a look at your calendar now and consider rescheduling or even going virtual, if possible, with your planned commitments. Normal routines will be disrupted by heavy traffic. If you must go out, allow for extra time to get to your destination.


H - Have a plan. Get gas and groceries in advance.


Those potential 200,000 visitors are most likely going to need to get gas before they head home. They may also decide to fuel up on food as well. Think about your weekly routines and try to complete those tasks like getting gas, going to the grocery store, or picking up your prescriptions ahead of time to avoid potential crowds and wait times.


I- Inform yourself and others. Know what’s going on.


Whether it’s eclipse-related or not, educate yourself on all the things there are to see and do in the area from April 5-9. This is the first time some of these visitors have ever been to our area and we should be proud Erie advocates, sharing information on great places to eat, and things they should do while in town. Think about what your favorite things are to do in the area, and where your favorite places are to eat. Tell your family, friends, neighbors, and visitors what makes Erie so special.


N- Navigate traffic - or don’t. Stay off major roadways.


One of the biggest headaches on eclipse day will be the traffic. This is a major issue for cities that have been within the path of totality, particularly when totality ends. If possible, stay off interstates I-79, I-90, and I-86. Based on other destinations in the path of totality for the 2017 eclipse, who were in the path of totality during the 2017 eclipse, Pennsylvania State Police estimates Erie interstate traffic could back up, causing massive 12-hour delays. Imagine being stuck in Peach Street traffic all day long. Consider staying home to view the eclipse. The sun will be above the tree line, making virtually anywhere a good spot, even your own backyard.


E- Enjoy the Moment. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event and Erie is lucky to be a part of it.


Let's come together to celebrate, both among ourselves and our visitors, creating an atmosphere of kindness and positivity. Remember to smile, extend acts of thoughtfulness, and offer assistance whenever the opportunity arises. Creating a positive impression is critical to leaving a lasting impression on our visitors so they will want to return to our beautiful shores again and again.

 

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Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

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