If you have any entrepreneurial spirit at all, you’ll start planning now to profit from the 2024 solar eclipse.
The eclipse that happened across the nation last week was interesting, but locally we only experienced it in the range of about 90 percent, give or take a shadow or two. On April 8, 2024 – mark your calendar – we’ll be right on the cusp of “totality,” when the moon completely blots out the sun.
Local resident and longtime businessman John Levo pointed out in an email that the next eclipse “will enter near Cincinnati and move towards Cleveland. The lower edge of the most total path will be just north of Wilmington. So we will have choice seats.”
People in locations that enjoyed “totality” last week were smart enough to make a few bucks off the big event. John reports that on a recent road trip he passed by Hopkinsville, Ky., which billed itself as a prime eclipse viewing site.
“They were expecting 5,000 on Monday,” John wrote in an email. “And they were in the middle of nowhere. People were renting out their driveways for $100 for a viewing area. Churches were charging $10-20 just for parking. And getting it!”
John added, “Some hotels were $500 and up. Houses were averaging around $2,000 (in rent) for the weekend through Tuesday morning — depending on location. Ingles Grocery Stores (and others) closed a lot of their gas stations because they ran out of gas because of all the vehicle traffic and being unable to get resupplied.”
John has a smart suggestion for our region: “So besides choice seats, perhaps we should start planning activities, renting out rooms, etc. Seven years is not that far away!”
No, it’s not. In fact, it’s only seven years away. Remember how recent 2010 was? Did you plan anything in 2010 for 2017? Well you should have, because here we are.
So everyone should put on their thinking caps. The early bird gets the worm, which has always seemed to me like a very unpleasant thing to get for starting so early.
This is a great opportunity for Rocky Fork Lake and people who own boats.
“Watch the eclipse while bobbing gently up and down on the peaceful waves of Rocky Fork Lake, sipping a margarita and munching on cheese and crackers. Just $399.99! (Margarita, cheese, crackers and protective eyewear not included.)”
How ‘bout you, Lynchburg, and your famous covered bridge? Surely there must be some way to tie the bridge in with the eclipse? Maybe this:
“When the eclipse starts, you’ll enter the bridge from Highland County in a horse-drawn buggy, exiting on the other side in Clinton County just as the eclipse concludes! You’ll have the distinction of watching the eclipse in two separate counties! Just $495.99! (Highland and Clinton sales taxes apply.)”
Likewise, Greenfield can make a killing from this. As we know, Greenfield alternates every few years between being a city and a village, just to keep everyone guessing. What will it be by 2024? It can win either way.
The brochure will explain it all: “Place your bets now! Will it be the City of Greenfield or the Village of Greenfield? All Greene Countrie Towne Wheels of Progress Eclipse Festival events 10 percent off to the winners! (Bets must be placed prior to 2020 census. Prizes awarded by the mayor if it’s a city, or the city manager if it’s a village, which makes it odd that it’s called a city manager in a village, but that’s another contest.)”
Hillsboro should really think big. Hillsboro should invite Donald Trump — who will be wrapping up his second term as president — to town on the big day and hold a Festival of the Eclipse parade with the president as the grand marshal.
When the eclipse happens, everyone who signed up will gather in front of the courthouse, where the president will teach us his unique eclipse-watching technique, “The Donald J. Trump Squint Method for Watching the Eclipse! No Special Glasses Required! (Copyright 2017, Trump University. No refunds.)”
When it comes to making money from the 2024 solar eclipse, the sky’s the limit. Literally. Lease your houses, rent your driveways, and come up with some tourist trinkets, things like t-shirts emblazoned with, “I Watched the Eclipse in Highland County. Now What Do I Do For the Rest of the Day?”
Granted, some may not appreciate such blatant profiteering from an otherwise free display, but those people are called anti-capitalists. This is America.
John and I are working on ideas. You’re welcome to join us or not, but when 2024 rolls around and you’re stuck watching the eclipse standing in the middle of the highway because all the good spots have been sold, well… don’t worry. I’ll be there to sell you a cardboard box with instructions on where to poke the holes.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.