WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Less than two weeks from the epic eclipse, smaller towns with prime eclipse viewing are preparing for massive crowds they’ve never seen before.
White House, Tennessee, with a population of 11,388, has grown in recent years.
“When I first moved here, I think it was around 7 to 8 thousand,” noted Darlene Latino. “It is booming.”
Come Aug.21, this boom town may reach astronomical proportions, thanks to one astronomical event.
“Some experts say that our population will double,” noted Mandy Christenson, President and CEO of the White House Area Chamber of Commerce. “Then some even say we can see 100 to 200 thousand people in our trade area.”
Just off Highway 76, at the chamber’s headquarters, eclipse merchandise is flying off the shelves.
Eclipse viewing glasses, patches, shirts and more are being sold with new packages arriving daily.
“We have sold or given away about $7,000 pairs of glasses at this point,” said Christenson.
White House faces what many towns along the path of totality face–primetime viewing outside of the city lights with locals preparing for the masses.
“I’m just glad I’m gonna be home and not out on the road that day,” said Nancy Bales, who’s lived in town a couple of years.
There are five motels or hotels in town centered around Interstate 65. All five are booked during the eclipse.
Nearly every public space in town will be utilized. Public parks, splash pads, and even the soccer complex will host watch parties.
Police are calling for all hands on deck, trying to prepare a town filled with two lane roads to handle the hoard of cars.
“It’s a little intimidating to think about,” said Christenson. “But our city and our police force have prepared for it as well as they can.”
The locals have prepared as well, and are ready to welcome these star gazers with open arms.
“Maybe everyone will come to White House to see what a wonderful community we have here,” added Latino.
We’re also partnering with the Nashville Sounds and the city of Nashville for a watch party at First Tennessee Park. Danielle Breezy is hosting the event, and if you can’t make it out, we still got you covered with a three-hour special from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Aug. 21 right here on News 2.