Even small towns brace for big eclipse impact

Apr. 3—Here comes the sun. There goes the sun. Here comes the sun. Put in its simplest terms, that is what the eclipse is about. The event though, that is coming on April 8 even has small communities in its path thinking about the coming event.

"We are going to have stuff set up out at the city pool area. We will have some inflatables, corn hole games, a DJ, some vendors. We are going to set up out there and take it however it goes because we don't know what to expect," said Loogootee Mayor Brian Ader, who says the activities will run the day of the eclipse from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park. "I have no idea what to expect. I don't think anybody does. We've heard Indianapolis will have three times the number of people that showed up for the Super Bowl. I have a feeling the roads will be packed since we are right in the middle of everything."

Odon is making the eclipse a weekend-long event with activities happening at both the city park and downtown under the direction of the Odon Business Alliance.

"We will be serving meals (Ketcham Memorial and Parkview Village) at the Community Building Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with the help of the Odon Library, the Lions Club and Odon Christian Church. We are all not-for-profit. This will be a fundraiser. We will have parking in the park at $50 per day and proceeds will go to the not-for-profit organizations," said Gina Wagler with the Odon Business Alliance. "We will have a concert by Trey Knepp on Saturday night and karaoke on Sunday. We are looking forward to a big crowd and a lot of fun during the party in the park. We will have a free-throw contest for all ages every day at noon."

There will also be euchre tournaments after every meal. Volleyball and pickleball courts will also be available.

There are also plans to have some events downtown for everyone from kindergarteners to adults.

"We are going to have a chalk up the town on Saturday starting at 10. All children are welcome. They will draw pictures on the sidewalk and there will be a cash prize," said Wagler. "We'll have bargaining days and some vendors uptown, some food trucks. We have a glow run on Sunday night. We are looking forward to the support for the not-for-profits involved in this and we are hoping for a good turnout."

Elnora is not putting on any events for the eclipse, but the Elnora Bible Institute is planning a full weekend of lectures and talks about the event called the Eclipse Encounter.

"The Bible Institute here in Elnora has banners out talking about some specific plans. The Elnora Eclipse Encounter April 5-8 featuring Dr. Robert Carter. He is a creations ministry international scientist and speaker," said Deanna Callison, Elnora Clerk-Treasurer. "The town board also gave permission for J.J. Arney to have a food stand open north of the Elnora Fire Department."

Just to the south, in Plainville, the community has an even more relaxed approach to the April 8 eclipse.

"We are just going to let people pick their spot and watch it. Plainville is in a spot that is in a good place for the eclipse and we are going to have the firemen kind of look out for people. We think we will have people heading to the park. It's a good spot," said Plainville Town Board Member Lee Coffman. "We haven't really organized anything. Our approach is let the people do what they want to do. Bring grandma, set up your card table and chairs, bring in your fried chicken and go from there."

A similar sentiment is being expressed by officials in Montgomery, and they are also leaving room for visitors to head to the Gasthof.

"We have no real plans as a town," said Montgomery Town Board member Mike Healy. "The Gasthof has some plans for that weekend and the day of the event. I hope this is everything it is cracked up to be."

The small communities in Daviess and Martin County really don't know what is about to hit them as the sun disappears from view, but officials say they are hoping that by the event is one that creates no bad memories.

"We have stuff in place, in case something happens. We have areas blocked off so that our emergency vehicles can get out and around," said Ader. "The city hall will be closed but all of our city workers will be available. We want everyone to be respectful and have a good time and make it a safe environment."