Big numbers causing concerns for small town eclipse events

HIAWATHA, Kan (KSNT)  –  Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock to northeast Kansas for the solar eclipse this month. This is causing concern for small towns that aren’t used to accommodating this many people.

Hiawatha is one of the towns in Kansas that will see total darkness during the eclipse. KSNT News will be at Hiawatha’s Brown County Blackout for the total eclipse.

Event organizers are expecting 10,000 to 20,000 people to attend the blackout, which is causing concerns about traffic. Organizers said they are working with Hiawatha Police and the local sheriff’s office to try and plan as best they can.

“We’ve also been working with our city, and our city administrators to make sure we have a good sense of where the flow is going to be and where we’re positioning people and shooting them out to get them closest to the highway,” said Diedra Leander with the Hiawatha Chamber and Visitors Bureau.

Leander said they are asking people to get to Hiawatha as soon as possible that morning. Parking will open at 8:00 in the morning.

“Even though we have ample parking around our event space, ten to twenty thousand is a lot of cars to park, so we’ll certainly be working to accommodate everybody that morning, but the sooner you can leave the sooner you can get to our community that morning the better off you’ll be,” said Leander.

Another concern is cell phone service. Leander said they are working with Rainbow Communications to increase coverage near the event. However, if more people show up then expected that could still be a problem.

The Brown County Blackout will be in Hiawatha on Monday, August 21. Click here for more information.

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