Hampton gearing up for eclipse events

Hampton is planning to roll out the red carpet for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, hosting activities which planners say could bring thousands of visitors to the community.

Karen Bameberger, a member of a volunteer planning committee, shared plans for the day with the Hampton Village Board Monday while also seeking input on parking and camping guidelines.
“We’re in the best viewing area in the world, so there are going to be a lot of people coming to the area,” Bamesberger said. “Whether they come to Hampton, I don’t know. I just think there are plenty of places to view this and we happen to be right in one of the prime territories.”
The focus for the day’s events will be on youth, Bamesberger explained of what she called a “kid-friendly event.”
Students from eight schools will be coming for the day’s events, which will be conducted on the baseball field. At three square feet per person, it is estimated that 5,000 people can be accommodated.
The gates will open at 9:30 a.m., with activities starting at 11:30 when astronaut Clayton Anderson is scheduled to arrive via helicopter before giving his presentation, titled “Dare to Be Extraordinary.” The program will also include a presentation by the Omaha Tribe, explaining how Native Americans do ritual dances for nature-related events like the eclipse. Deryl Hilligas is gearing up to play eclipse related music, a magician will perform and fireworks are being planned as well. Admission will be $2 per person, excluding guest schools.
In regard to parking and camping, Bamesberger suggested that no side parking be allowed on 5th Street, in order to allow room for emergency vehicles if needed.
Village board chairman Dane Schafer suggested that no campers be allowed on the ballfield, in order to preserve space for the day’s events. As for parking, residents may choose to charge a fee for parking on private property.
“It’s fairly likely that campers, vans and tents may start to arrive five to seven days before the event,” Bamesberger said. “More than half the people will be coming on school buses, but we need to be prepared. We’ll not block off any streets though we plan to use security people to try to direct incoming people as best we can.”
No food vendors have been invited, due to the challenge of not knowing how many people to prepare for, though bottled water will be available for sale.
Bamesberger has been in contact with area groups planning to host eclipse events. She reported that Stuhr Museum in Grand Island is preparing for as many as 50,000 people, Central City expects 2,500 and the Leadership Center in Aurora could host as many as 3,000 viewers, with overflow crowd to be directed to the Hamilton County Fairgrounds.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for Hampton to be recognized and people will get to see what we’re all about,” she added.

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