Officials with the city of Greencastle know very well what will take place on April 8, 2024.
On that date, Greencastle will be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, which will begin at 1:49 p.m. and end at 3:22 p.m.
With the city in the path, officials are bracing for a quarter of a million visitors and have been holding meetings to ensure a smooth eclipse day, according to Greencastle Mayor Lynda Dunbar.
There will be two major viewing areas in Putnam County for the eclipse with one being at Big Walnut Sports Park and the other at the Putnam County Regional Airport.
The viewing party at Big Walnut Sports Park will open at 9 a.m. and will feature food trucks and programming from the Greencastle Parks Department, as well as eclipse glasses, parking and restrooms.
Gregory Ruark, director of Greencastle Parks and Recreation, admits he is looking forward to taking part in the event.
"They don't occur very often, so it is always an extraordinary event. We will see the effects regardless of the weather, but we all certainly hope it's a clear day. As long as it doesn't rain, the event should be fantastic. This is the first time I have been involved in planning activities around an eclipse. We are thrilled to be hosting a viewing event at Big Walnut Sports Park, which should be a spectacular location to view the eclipse," Ruark told The Putnam County Post.
The festivities at the airport are slated from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature live music, vendors, food trucks, parking, restrooms and more.
Dunbar said city officials are also working with those who have large parking lots to help accommodate the crowds.
"A lot of our churches are stepping up and allowing us to put them on a map where people can go there. The city will provide waste cans and port-a-pots on those locations so people don't have to necessarily go into their facilities. We are getting a lot of support and a lot of people are willing to help," she said.
Ruark said his office has been coordinating with the Greencastle Police, Greencastle Fire, city hall and a "host of volunteers" to ensure a smooth experience.
"We anticipate thousands of visitors coming to this portion of the state. I would encourage local residents to stay close to home, if possible, so visitors have opportunities to find viewing areas, not only here, but county wide," he said.
That is a point echoed by Dunbar, who said the biggest concern after the eclipse is getting people out safely.
Think it'll be a great day. People will be staggering coming in, but once it's over, everyone will want to get home. I think we need to remind our residents here when we get closer that you may want to stay home a little bit and let us clear out the streets and then life will go back to normal.
Dunbar admits she is hopeful those who come for the eclipse will return to Greencastle for other days and events.
"Hopefully when they come through, we've made it so great they will want to come back and see what Greencastle is all about.