BEATRICE, Neb. About 12,000 people live in Beatrice, Neb. Monday, that number is expected to more than double with visitors from far and wide coming to view the total solar eclipse in one of the places where the moon will completely cover the sun.
The city is ready for a lot of visitors, even though it's not sure just how many people will converge on the town. A few days ahead of the eclipse, several visitors from across the U.S. and beyond had already made their way to Beatrice and local businesses have benefited.
"We're usually not open on Sundays and we've just been gangbusters all day," Grant Bennett, a server at the 4one8 Bar and Grill said Sunday afternoon. "We've had a lot of people come in, a lot of people hopefully leaving happy, getting a good impression of the town."
Visitors to Beatrice include Ken and George Holman from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They say they visited Munich, Germany for a total solar eclipse in 1999 and are looking forward to experiencing a similar event Monday, sharing it with people they've met in Beatrice.
In preparation for Monday, graphic design shop owner Dave Sederberg says he's worked 10 to 12 hour days, seven days per week, trying to help local businesses get merchandise ready for the visitors.
"We've heard anywhere from 25,000 to 150,000 (visitors coming to Beatrice) Sederberg says. "I don't think anybody knows.
Possible cloud cover in Beatrice is a concern for some hoping to get a clear view of the total solar eclipse, but Lora Young, Executive Director of the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce and Gage County Tourism says there will be a celebration, regardless of how well the weather cooperates.
"I don't know what's gonna happen (Monday) morning. It is what it is, but we're still gonna part anyway," she says.