Some Watertown hotels already full for 2024′s solar eclipse

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 5:44 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Tourism officials say some hotels in Watertown are already booked up for an event next year and others are well on their way.

It’s all because people are coming to the area to see a total solar eclipse.

A 2017 partial solar eclipse drew good crowds to Watertown’s Thompson Park, but the crowd for next year’s event could eclipse that.

“Jefferson County, New York is in the path of totality which means the sun will be completely blocked from our view as part of the experience,” said Corey Fram, director of the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council.

Since NASA has placed Jefferson County in the middle of an “ideal viewing area” for a total solar eclipse, Fram expects tourism in the area to skyrocket.

“We hope that people recognize the opportunity to help us put on a good show and to host people the way they should be,” he said.

Fram believes at least 2 Watertown hotels are sold out. At the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown, it’s well on its way to having no more room.

“So the minute those rooms started opening, people started booking,” said Shawn McCormick, director of sales and marketing.

The eclipse could present some challenges, especially since it’s occurring during an otherwise quiet time of year.

“It’s gonna be a challenge on private businesses to entertain and give folks food and beverage options, dining options that wouldn’t normally be open. It’s also going to be a challenge for emergency services,” said Fram.

For smaller businesses gearing up for the eclipse, Fram has some recommendations.

“Having specials and packages available. Having products built around the eclipse knowing they are going to sell is something they should be working on now,” he said.

The bulk of festivities in Watertown are expected to take place in Thompson Park. The city is hosting an event called “Total Eclipse of The Park” and a committee has been working out details for over a year now.

“So it’s really going to be an event where the main focus is the viewing of the eclipse but with also a few other things peppered in,” said Sarah Compo Pierce, head of the planning committee.

The eclipse will occur at precisely 3:25 p.m. on April 8, 2024.