Ravenna prepares for the solar eclipse

Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 17:54:30-04

Along the path of totality small towns are gearing up to welcome people from around the world.

Ravenna with a population just over 13-hundred is one of those special towns.

“For it to be in our hometown, it's just phenomenal,” said Ravenna resident Deandra Kaslon, “I'm excited to see how many people are here.”

And that's the big question, because no one knows exactly how many people will show up.

“We haven't been a tourist community before but now we are overnight-what do we do,” said Ravenna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gena McPherson.

The town got help from an astronomer on how to get ready for this and have been preparing for this day for about three years. McPherson said they are having a parade, the town’s first-ever music festival and mapping out where people should go, “It's been kinda crazy.”

The main place to view the eclipse in Ravenna is at the baseball fields. The city will make sure these lights don’t' go on when it's pitch black out.

The town's only motel has been booked for this day since 2014, “I've had calls from Australia, England, Germany,” said Grand View Inn owner, Jerry Karel.

So he created a makeshift hostile to accommodate for more visitors.

“We just got the beds in, we're going to need it Saturday,” said Karel.

The solar eclipse also inspires a new wine at the Cedar Hills Vineyard and Gardens just east of Ravenna.

“Told Heidi, I said-you gotta make a wine for the eclipse,” said owner Chad Schutz.

 It's called ‘Dark of Day’ for 30-dollars.

While the city will go dark for a couple minutes, it's the bright future at the end of the eclipse that hopes to revive this town.

“Thinking that our town is kind of dying off and now it's coming back alive with an event that only we as the middle of Nebraska can see it so it's kind of neat,” said Ravenna resident Mike Cromin.  

“We have the opportunity to share with them small town hospitality and show them what we're about,” said McPherson.

The eclipse happens in Ravenna around 12:58p.m.

3 News Now will be there as it’s happening and will bring you live updates throughout the day.