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Eclipse excitement builds in St. Albans

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) – The Great American Eclipse on April 8 will plunge parts of our region into darkness, including St. Albans, which is along the path of maximum totality and will be in the dark for about 3 minutes and 32 seconds. And the city has big plans for the big day.

On the day of the eclipse, people will pack into Taylor Park in St. Albans to enjoy live music and food trucks in anticipation of the big event.

For a city with about 7,000 people, the expected inflow of 20,000 visitors takes a lot of preparation. St. Albans Planning and Development Coordinator Arleigh Young and her team got the ball rolling a year ago.

“Regardless of how many people we’re having, we’re planning a big event because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. So, we’ll see what happens,” Young said.

The event called Totality in Taylor Park will feature live music, food trucks and more.

Young says she’s excited for the earlier start to tourist season which usually begins during the Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans in late April and then continues into the summer.

“It’s an early opportunity, not only for us and our event but also for our downtown businesses. It’s huge for them,” Young said.

Downtown businesses have also started preparations.

Donna Howard, who owns the book store the Eloquent Page, started selling eclipse books for people curious about the celestial event.

“A lot of these are for different age groups explaining what eclipses are,” Howard said. “They’re selling fast.”

Just down the street, the Rail City Market is stocking up on what they think tourists will want, while also selling some uniquely St. Albans eclipse merchandise along the way.

“They just designed this, it’s kind of just the fountain that’s in the park with the eclipse in the background,” said Alice Johnson, who works at Rail City market.

Totality in Taylor Park is the city’s big event, but there is also a walk-up event at Hard’Ack Recreation Area and opportunities for viewing the eclipse at Bay Park in St. Albans Town.

Wherever you end up going to watch the eclipse, you need to make sure you have special glasses to protect your eyes from the power of the sun. Young says the city will provide the community with glasses.

She says most of the final preparations are done including figuring out security and extra parking, but she says people should expect longer commute times.

“Biggest message is pack your patience!” Young said.

St. Albans is ready and can’t wait for the big day.

“It’s exciting! We’re all getting ready to see who comes down. We’re hoping the weather is nice,” Howard said.

“I think it’ll just be an exciting time,” Johnson said. “People from everywhere just coming to St. Albans.”

Click here for all our coverage of the Great American Eclipse.

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