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The Purple Clarion

The Purple Clarion

Eclipse brings people from across the world to Harrisburg

Gavinn Swann
The eclipse at totality. Totality lasted about four minutes in Harrisburg Illinois, causing the sky to darken and crickets to chirp.

On Monday, April 15, the world watched as the midwestern United States and Mexico were engulfed in darkness.

The total solar eclipse was a once-in-a-lifetime event for many, for others it was the second time they had experienced such an event.

“The eclipse was so successful! People were coming together and celebrating, and it was great,” Lisa Knight of Coleman Tri-County said.

Southern Illinois made for the perfect viewing place for the eclipse with thousands of people coming from all over the world to not only view the event but to also eat in Southern Illinois restaurants, shop in Southern Illinois shops and take in all the natural beauty that this region has to offer.

“In 2017, over 200,000 people came to Southern Illinois for the eclipse, generating about $18 million in economic impact for the region. About 50,000 people came to Carbondale in 2017,” according to an article by Channel 20 News.

While no official numbers have been released yet, it is estimated that from 200,000 to 400,000 people visited the region on April 8, and 13,000 people alone had reserved seats in Saluki Stadium according to various news sources.

In Harrisburg, the event was considered a great success.

“The fest helped us make a profit, the Saline County Tourism Board donated, and the City of Harrisburg helped provide fences, security and donated steaks,” Knight said. “We had great local artists and talent, many whom had been on stage for the first time.”

While many tourists watched from Carbondale and Harrisburg, others flocked to other towns in the region. In an interview with WEHT,  Executive Director for Downtown Evansville, Adam Trinkel, that up to 17,000 people visited the city during the eclipse.

The event wasn’t without its complications.

“Drivers returning home Monday from watching the solar eclipse in cities and towns in the path of totality described traffic jams that were among the worst they’d ever experienced, keeping them on roads all night and into Tuesday morning,” Megan Cerullo for CBS News reported.

All challenges aside, Harrisburg’s own “Eclipsefest” brought in hundreds from around the world. Hotels and restaurants saw a big influx of cash.

“Not just the festival, but the whole eclipse helped boost our economy and many people got to see what we have to offer,” Knight said.

The money made by the “Eclipsefest” will be used to help those who are in need in our region.

“We are going to use the funds we collected from the event to help those who are in need in Southern Illinois, whether that’s providing food, clothes or home goods; whatever they need, we’re here to provide,” Knight said.

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Gavinn Swann
Gavinn Swann, Staff Writer
Gavinn Swann is a senior at Harrisburg High School. This is his first year on the Purple Clarion Staff. He participates in History Club, Future Educators Club and plays trumpet in Concert Band, Jazz Band and Marching band. He cares about the arts and the finer details in life.  Gavinn also cares about education and aviation. In his spare time he is always learning, and aspires to be a commercial pilot.  “Student journalism is important to me because it helps develop your writing skills while giving your work a platform to be judged upon.” 

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