Weiser, Idaho is normally a quiet town of 5, 400 people, perfect for a visit to walk the streets, visit a few shops and restaurants and enjoy some peace. For the next few days, though thanks to the Total Solar Eclipse 2017, Weiser will become a bustling city full of people looking for one of the very best places to enjoy the solar eclipse. With perfect viewing expected and a location right in the heart of the solar eclipse totality, Weiser is going all-out to make visitors welcome, entice them with unique souvenirs and special foods, provide visitors with plenty of great viewing areas and camping and show that entrepreneurship is still alive in the Great State of Idaho.
Patrick Nauman, the owner of Weiser Classic Candy and Chairman of the EclipseFest 2017 for the Weiser Chamber of Commerce, is spearheading the charge to prep Weiser for the influx of people wanting to come to one of the prime viewing spots for the total solar eclipse. Patrick told The Boise Beat,
“We’re expecting a bunch of people. Estimates are about 15, 000 parked and camping in the immediate area over the course of the weekend and 60-70,000 for drive-ins on Monday. But we’re up to it, you bet! We’ve been working on getting ready for almost a year now and we’ve made all the plans that we can and hope everything executes just the way we’ve planned”.
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Patrick continued, “I’m really looking forward to the eclipse myself, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I already know, as do all of us that live here in Weiser that Weiser is an awesome community and a it’s great place to live, work and do business. We’re just happy to be able to show it off, not only to the rest of Idaho but really to the rest of the world. We have a lot of travelers coming in from all four corners of the earth, really, so it will be a neat opportunity to turn Weiser into an international community for a day or two.
If people are going to come up and view the eclipse, I recommend they come up a few days ahead of time and scope out the town to make sure they have a plan and not be afraid to leave early. We’ve got a pancake breakfast starting at 6am in the park for everybody, so there will be plenty of things to do before Mother Nature takes over the show later that morning”.
Patrick’s creativity at Weiser Classic Candy showed up with an Eclipse Cookie. He said, “This cookie was actually the brainchild of one of my enployees and myself. We know we wanted to be able to do something special and have a special offering for the eclipse, but in the summer it’s kind of hard to walk around with a bunch of chocolates! We wanted something that was a little more portable, so we came up with a dark chocolate sugar cookie and then we filled that with a lemon truffle on the inside to finish it off. It’s pretty much decadence delivered right to your mouth.
Other signs around the area included stores with eclipse t-shirts, jewelry, solar eclipse viewing glasses and many more souvenirs. Virtually every store had something ready for the eclipse. There were even a lot of ‘pop-up’ stores showing up, some as simple as a sign in front of a house. Custom made t-shirts celebrated the event, but so did local rocks with an eclipse label glued on them. Driving around, there were lots of signs for parking and camping spots for rent, some custom printed and others just made with a felt-tip pen. Another hot spot in a different way will be Weiser High School, where NASA is setting up along with many other astronomers with special cameras and telescopes to document the event.
Another attraction is on Highway 95, where metal artist Chuck Lamm has created the Eclipse Man. The Eclipse Man towers over the landscape and took Chuck over 5 months to create . It is well worth a stop to see. He also has a nice selection of shirts and souvenirs at his shop.
Bars and restaurants were getting in the spirit too, literally. The Cresent Bar in Weiser is having an Best-Dressed Alien party Saturday night. Meanwhile, the Mann Creek Cafe is going all out for the next five days. They are starting tonight with their Eclipse Beach Party, going full-bore with music, sand volleyball, horseshoes, food and drink specials and of course a great spot to view the total solar eclipse.
Overall, there are lots of events all through the town for the Eclipse Festival. The Total Solar Eclipse 2017 is a once in a lifetime event for most and Weiser seems to be a wonderful place to enjoy it.
Weiser, Idaho Eclipse Info
All photos by Ed Simon for The Boise Beat