Perryville, MO hotels nearly booked, city ready for eclipse weekend

PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - The solar eclipse is coming in roughly six months and already lodging is filling up.

We talked with Perryville City leaders who say the hotels there are all pretty much booked for the most part right now for the solar eclipse weekend for August 21.

However, there are some spots available which include some campgrounds.

"Rustic camping and other places that aren't normally campgrounds, they will be open as a campground that weekend," Perryville City Administrator Brent Buerck said.

In addition to the roughly 200 hotel rooms booked, the city is building an additional hotel.

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites is planned to open in August in time for when the eclipse comes.

However, even though the hotel isn't near completion yet, Buerck said the 70 room hotel is already taking reservations for that weekend.

For Perry County, people will get to see the peak of the eclipse last for more than two minutes. And while people are mostly drawn to the area for that exact moment, there still is the rest of that day and the weekend that leaders have planned for to help the experience that much better for everyone.

"For us it's a great opportunity to tell our story and show who we are and show people the blessings we've been given as a community and really get them interested in coming back to Perryville on a different trip some time," Buerck added.

Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Winschel said they have planned to fill the weekend with many events with the SolarFest event.

"The chamber is going to be hosting SolarFest 2017 for everyone coming into our county to be able to experience Perryville a little bit better," Winschel said. "We're going to start off on Saturday [August 19] with a parade, we're going to have a chalk festival, live music, a carnival and food vendors around the square in Downtown Perryville."

"We expect a very large crowd anyway, so our approach was to make sure we structured some activities where people could really enjoy the hospitality Perryville has to offer," Buerck added.

Buerck said he anticipates the population will quadruple that weekend as they estimate over 30,000 people to be there to view the eclipse.

They already have everything planned out and ready to go including 25,000 solar sunglasses for those to view the eclipse safely.

Overall, they feel this weekend could bring in a lot of revenue and can help with the economy of Perryville as well.

"Visitors always help whether they're buying gas or buying a meal," Buerck said. "More important to us is how it benefits the local businesses because we run on business and if the businesses are doing good then Perryville is doing good."

Buerck and Winschel feel planning for this eclipse weekend event will give them an idea of how to plan for the next eclipse that is supposed to follow in 2024 there in Perryville also.

"In seven years we have another opportunity to have one coming through again so we think if we do this right, folks will be back for a second time," Buerck said.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved.