Community prepares for influx of visitors coming to see eclipse

By KRISTEN HART  Banner Intern
Posted 8/19/17

Hotels in Bradley County and Polk County have been preparing for a large number of visitors for Monday’s total solar eclipse.

Many Bradley County hotels are fully booked. One hotel, Quality …

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Community prepares for influx of visitors coming to see eclipse

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Hotels in Bradley County and Polk County have been preparing for a large number of visitors for Monday’s total solar eclipse.

Many Bradley County hotels are fully booked. One hotel, Quality Inn, has been fully booked since May. Other fully booked hotels include Holiday Inn Express and Mountain View Inn.

Holiday Inn Express manager Joe Day said he advised visitors to make their travel plans early.

“We have been booked since earlier this month,” Day said. “I know of a few visitors that are coming for the eclipse specifically.”

Most hotels in neighboring Polk County have been filled quickly, according to their managers.

“I’m sure many of our guests are coming for the solar eclipse,” said Pam Farmer, an employee of Whitewater Inn.

As of press deadlines, some hotels, like Whitewater Inn and Ocoee River Inn, still had some rooms available. However, tourists continued to make their way into the area over the weekend.

Melissa Woody, vice president of tourism with the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, said staff know of visitors coming from Alabama, Georgia and even Texas.

Woody said she was unaware of the amount of traffic which is now predicted in Cleveland the day of the solar eclipse. Still, the Chamber is doing its part to insure the day goes smoothly.

“We always want to showcase our community,” Woody said.

Cleveland and Morris Vineyard and Winery will be hosting an event, the “Solar Sip and See,” where they will be handing out solar glasses. However, tickets for the event are completely sold out. Woody said that if guests’ names are not on the list then they will sadly have to be turned away.

“If we had known then, we would have increased the price of the tickets to control the crowd,” Woody said.

Outside of the event, the city of Cleveland is not giving out solar glasses. There are no other citywide events planned, but there are many other locations to view the solar eclipse.

These include an event being planned by the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library beginning at 1 p.m. Monday. The Chamber is continuing to post news of any additional viewing events online at https://www.facebook.com /CLEchamber.

Some businesses, such as the Mountain View Inn and the Bradley Square Mall, are also anticipating people to watch the eclipse from their parking lots.

There is also another reason people have been pouring into the area this weekend — Lee University. Classes begin there Tuesday, and families have been helping both new and returning students get settled.

Woody said Cleveland was not expecting so many visitors for the eclipse, but those who promote the city are excited for the opportunities it could bring.

“Hopefully, visitors will enjoy their time here and come back,” Woody said.

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