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Copperas Cove holds another solar eclipse town hall for businesses


Cove Leader-Press


Dozens of business owners and community members attended the Solar Eclipse Town Hall meeting held Aug. 8 at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.

The town hall meeting featured a presentation by the city’s Community Event Specialist Samantha Martin about what the eclipse is, why it is special and what businesses can expect.

The rarity of being in the path of totality is what will draw crowds to the path of totality.

“An eclipse only happens in one location usually every 375 years, so right here where we’re standing today, it shouldn’t be until another 375 years until we get a total eclipse going right past us again,” Martin said.

According to NASA, the next solar eclipse viewable from the contiguous United States will be August 23, 2044.

“People are going to flock to that path of totality,” Martin said. “People are going to also flock down to Texas because in April, we have the best chance of having the best weather. Up north, it's more anticipated that it's going to be cloudy, bad weather, so travelers are going to come down for the nicer weather, clear skies, hopefully. On top of that, where we are we're seeing a longer duration because it's the beginning of where the moon's shadow was covering the earth.”

Copperas Cove is expected to experience close to four and a half minutes or so of totality.

 “People are trying to see it for the longest,” Martin explained. “Everyone in the United States is going to be trying to come to Texas. Obviously, it's easier to travel to Texas than some locations even further south, so we anticipate seeing a lot of visitors into Central Texas.”

Some places have been lucky enough to be in the path more than once: Carbondale, Illinois, for example, was in the path in 2017 and will be again in 2024, Martin said.

As a city that has already been in the path of totality, Carbondale offered a wealth of information for Copperas Cove on what to expect. Carbondale held a one-day festival to commemorate the eclipse and saw approximately 50,000 visitors come to attend and witness the eclipse.

Most visitors came the day before the eclipse, which fell on a Monday, as will the 2024 total eclipse.

Recommendations for businesses include selling eclipse themed merchandise, possibly even eclipse glasses featuring a businesses logo; changing operating hours and days to better suit when the visitors will be active; and especially be prepared for heavy traffic and the impact that will have on employees and deliveries.

Martin shared photos from different locations of the 2017 total solar eclipse that showed the long, long lines of traffic exiting a city after the eclipse finished.

One way businesses or organizations can capitalize on the eclipse is by offering up parking spots. One photo showed parking spots sold for $100 a day.

Currently, the Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation will be offering tent camping spots at Rhode Park. The city’s Spring into the Eclipse Festival will take place the weekend of the eclipse at City Park, with vendors, food trucks and entertainment. This festival will kick off on Saturday, April 6, 2024 and end on Monday, April 8, 2024 at 7 p.m.

Cove Life Church will be hosting an event at Kate Street Park.

The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an eclipse event, which starts in Downtown Copperas Cove on Friday, April 5, with entertainment, live music, guest speakers, food trucks and vendors. Over at Ogletree Gap, the Chamber is overseeing RV and tent camping reservations, which can be made at

Parks and Recreation is also offering local churches or organizations the chance to take advantage of a huge fundraising opportunity through a partnership with the City by hosting an event at either High Chapparal Park, Highland Park, Heritage Park or South Park. Martin explained that there would be certain requirements of organizations or businesses hosting events at these city parks, such as having PortaPotties, waste management, etc., but there would be no fee. The upfront costs associated would be made back through whatever parking or event fees that the organization or business charges. For more information, people are encouraged to contact Ashley Wilson, with Parks and Recreation, at or by phone at (254) 542-2719.

One business owner, Denise Zehr, expressed her concerns over whether she and her husband should stay in town or leave town to avoid the hassle.

Martin explained later in the meeting that the idea of all the events is to help ease the crowds.

“One of the goals is that if we do have all these events dispersed out, it's not going to be so overwhelming to have 30,000 people in one place,” she said.

City Councilmember Fred Chavez encouraged people to contact their city council members if they think of an ordinance that might get in the way of an event during that eclipse weekend.

“The city council is going to have to look at ordinances that may have to be adjusted, amended or suspended during that time,” he said. “If something comes to your mind that there is an ordinance that might get in the way of either the commerce or safety or get in the way of fun, let somebody know so that if we can, we'll call King’s X on that day or for that period of time, so that we get the administrivia out of everybody's way. We don't want to make it onerous or harder for you to do this.”

For those who were unable to attend Tuesday’s town hall, there will be another Eclipse Town Hall scheduled for Tuesday, August 29, at 6 p.m. at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207