North Georgia prepares for tens of thousands of solar eclipse vi - CBS46 News

North Georgia prepares for tens of thousands of solar eclipse visitors

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)
RABUN COUNTY (CBS46) -

A historic event will take place one month from today -- the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years.

The northeast corner of Georgia will be directly in the path and one of the best spots in the country to view it. CBS46 traveled two hours north of Atlanta to Rabun County, where some people are spending their summer preparing for the big day.

“None of us had any expectation of how big this was going to be…this is going to be the largest, most watched eclipse in history,” contended retired Delta pilot Alan Price.

Price is the director of the 15-person Solar Eclipse Coordination Committee in Rabun County. He believes the eclipse will be the biggest event in Rabun County in a generation.

“Back in the 70's, when…Wallenda crossed Tallulah Gorge, there were supposedly 30,000-40,000 people,” Price shared. More than 50,000 people are expected in north Georgia on August 21, with 40,000 people in Rabun County alone.

The visitors will bring in millions of dollars to the local economy. All hotels are sold out for at least 25 miles in any direction.

“I don’t think it has ever happened before,” Toni Johnson of the Beechwood Inn explained. The Beechwood sold out 16 months ago.

“We were getting 15-20 calls a day…asking if we still had rooms and we had to explain to them, and we have a waiting list of over 40 now,” Johnson shared.

At 1:15 p.m. local time, the moon’s shadow will progress across the U.S. from west to east. The total eclipse of the sun will occur at 2:35 p.m. and last about two and a half minutes. One of the biggest viewing events will be at the Rabun Gap Nachoochee School, where up to 10,000 people are expected.

“Anybody coming is welcome to come…we are going to find room for them,” Price stated. Price says all law enforcement in the region will be working the event.

“We are going to have about 14 or 15 GSP troopers on the highway. They will be directing traffic…we are also concerned about security so we have got sheriff’s deputies at our parking lots,” Price said.

The small mountain community thrives on tourism. Locals hope this celestial experience will leave visitors over the moon and wanting more.

“I think if somebody comes to stay for this one time, they will come back again. I really believe they will come back again.” Johnson asserted.

To learn more about the events in Rabun County surrounding the solar eclipse go to http://explorerabun.com/total-eclipse/

CBS 46 is your one-stop shop for everything Total Eclipse 2017. We have in-depth coverage, resources and everything you need to know for the big event on Aug. 21.

Make sure to tune in to our LIVE, continuous coverage beginning at 1 p.m. on Aug. 21, and stay with us as we continue coverage through 6:30 p.m.

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