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Watertown Daily Times: Watertown begins planning for 2024 total solar eclipse

By Craig Fox

March 9, 2022

WATERTOWN — It’s not going to be for another two years, but the city is already getting ready for the solar eclipse in 2024.

The city’s Solar Eclipse Committee met on Wednesday afternoon for the first time to start planning to celebrate the event on April 8, 2024.

Watertown will have one of the best views for the event, considered North America’s most anticipated celestial event for years to come.

Comprised of four City Council members and a handful of other people, the committee plans to host the celebration in Thompson Park.

Committee members already envision such activities as a “Black Out Block Party,” food trucks, music, nature hikes, vendors and eclipse-related programming.

They’ve already chosen a name for the city’s event — Total Eclipse in the Park.

In 2017, people from all over the country traveled to southern states to view the last total eclipse. Committee members think that Watertown could get that kind of influx of people for the 2024 solar eclipse.

“We just don’t know,” said Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo Pierce, who’s chairing the committee.

The committee plans to start working on a website to promote the event. It needs to figure out accommodations, how to get local restaurants and businesses involved and nail down activities.

The committee is looking for local organizations and other residents to get involved in the efforts.

Buffalo, Rochester, Burlington, Vt., and other communities that will have good views have already started planning for their celebrations.

“I don’t care that Rochester got a head start on us,” said Councilman Cliff G. Olney III, who’s also involved in the planning. “Wait to see what we can do.”

Burlington already has a website up to try to attract interest in its event. The website has had 100,000 hits from people wanting to know more about the eclipse, Councilwoman Compo Pierce said.

Watertown is in the direct path of the 2024 total solar eclipse. Few places in the country will experience it like the city, they said.

Just by coincidence, committee member Adam Ruppe was in Utah for the 2017 solar eclipse. That area of the country had a 90% eclipse, he recalled.

But he was impressed with the effects of the eclipse and how dark it got there.

“Watertown is going to be dead center for it,” he said.

View this story on the Watertown Daily Times website, here.

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