Atchison businesses, residents welcome 'eclipse' crowd

ATCHISON, Kan. Thousands gathered in the birthplace of Amelia Earhart will have their eyes on the skies, hoping to get a glimpse of the Great American eclipse Monday afternoon.

The town of Atchison is prepared for an influx of visitors from across the United States and beyond. At Benedictine College, several thousand people are expected to gather at or near the school's football stadium to watch the total solar eclipse.

Atchison, in far northeast Kansas, is one of a handful of communities nationwide that will experience totality where the moon will briefly block out the entire sun.

Sunday, our crew got set up for our coverage at Benedictine and visited with local businesses about what they're doing to accommodate the visitors from around the world.

From a small lemonade stand on one street corner to Main Street, Atchison is all about the eclipse.

"It's been something like we've never encountered and probably never will again," says Atchison resident Doug Wetllaufer.

Angela Spurlock runs an antique shop in town. Sunday, she says her business had sold more than 950 eclipse glasses over the past three days.

Her customers have come from all over leading up to Monday.

Local restaurants in Atchison started preparing for the eclipse far in advance. Monday morning when visitors wake up hungry, Daylight Donuts will be ready.

Restaurant Owner Gaye Hess and her crew were prepared to work through the night Sunday to have plenty of hot and fresh doughnuts ready. Hess says she ordered nearly 10 times more ingredients than usual to be ready for Monday morning.

The doughnut options Monday include a special eclipse doughnut made with chocolate and filled with cream.

Among the international travelers who made their way to Atchison ahead of Monday's total solar eclipse is Andy Parkin, visiting from Yorkshire, England.

"We've just driven up here and so we're checking the place out so we can see the eclipse tomorrow," Parkin told Eyewitness News Sunday afternoon.

Parkin, has only been in the United States for a couple days, but he's ready with his eclipse gear. He and his wife, Helen, are staying in Atchison to witness Monday's solar spectacle.

"This is supposed to be the eclipse of the century," Parkin says.

Sandie Stone with Tabs Unlimited, a graphic designer for a local printing company, says's she's excited to welcome all the out-of-town onlookers like Parkin.

"It's really exciting to see people from England, Australia, Oklahoma," she says.

Stone's store is printing 700 to 800 shirts designed specifically for the total solar eclipse.

"We've been making a lot of t-shirts for a lot of the local businesses here in town," Stone says. "It's really cool to have all these people come into our community and see what we have to offer here in Atchison."