In 2024, Total Eclipse Comes to WNY

Total Eclipse Coming To WNY In 2024

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- If you thought Monday's partial eclipse was cool, just wait seven years.

On April 8, 2024 -- just 2,422 days from now -- a total eclipse will cover the entire Western New York region, stretching south through Cleveland, Indianapolis, Dallas and even central Mexico.

In Niagara Falls, Destination Niagara USA President and CEO John Percy said he's already preparing for worldwide media coverage in April 2024.

"We, as a staff, got really excited. Seven years is really not a long way," Percy said. "So let's start today with initial discussions about what can be done."

Percy said there will definitely be some parties both before and after the eclipse in Niagara Falls.  Maybe some fireworks, too, especially during the eclipse itself.  Hotel rooms will be sold out for sure in the Falls, probably even a year or two in advance.

That's what happened inside Monday's so-called "Path of Totality," which turned small towns like Carbondale, Ill., and Madras, Ore., into overnight sensations.  Americans jammed the highways and sat in hours upon hours of traffic, just to catch a glimpse of total darkness for a few minutes.

Just imagine what a place like Niagara Falls will look like. 

"We're iconic, world-renowned," Percy said. "How great to have that eclipse here in the destination of Niagara?"

Niagara Falls won't be the only place to party.

In Buffalo, Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler said he envisions all-out celebrations at Canalside and the Outer Harbor. His office will soon begin coordinating with the Buffalo Museum of Science and other cultural institutions in preparation for the total eclipse.

"We've even started thinking about how to source the glasses we would want, because we knew they were in short supply today," Kaler said. "Being at the epicenter of the eclipse in 2024, we want to make sure everyone can see it, see it safely and really enjoy it."

Kaler, originally from Illinois, watched closely as Carbondale celebrated the eclipse on Monday.  That small city, located about 100 miles from St. Louis, expected more than 50,000 visitors from across the United States. During peak totality, the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale football stadium was packed with thousands of sightseers.

Afterward, traffic was a nightmare getting in and out of Carbondale.

"It's really interesting to know that a lot of people are traveling for this," Kaler said. "People will come early, stay late, and who knows what they'll do while they're here."

Visit Buffalo Niagara will try to capitalize big on social media -- whatever that looks like in 2024.

In both Buffalo and Niagara Falls, it will help that the 2024 eclipse is slated for April, instead of the more popular summer months.

"It wouldn't be a July or August, when our peak season is at its peak," Percy said. "This would be an off-season time, a great way to boost hotel room nights and people to stay longer and enjoy activities around the Falls and enjoy the total eclipse."

On Monday, some out-of-town visitors at the Falls already liked the idea of returning for the total eclipse in 2024.

"I'm gonna have to clear that date on my calendar," said Tom Sirianni, who lives in Florida.

Niagara Falls already welcomes millions of visitors a year, but April 8, 2024, is a day Percy and Destination Niagara USA will be thinking about for the next seven years.

"It's never too early," Percy said. "So let's sit down, start planning, budgeting, and really get people to the table."

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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