East Tennessee town preparing for solar eclipse

SWEETWATER, Tenn (WATE) – It’s an astronomical event that’s out of this world, but for the small town of Sweetwater August’s upcoming solar eclipse is far more than just a few minutes of science.

“We’re going to prepare for it,” said Dinner Bell owner Curtis Montooth. “We’re kind of excited for it, hopefully it will be a big event.”

Sweetwater has a population of around 5,700 people, but during the weekend of August 20 that number will increase quite a bit.

“For about four days, around that time period, August 21st, we are completely booked,” said Sweetwater KOA owners Tim and Cathy Allen.

The Allens just recently purchased the campground. They say this extra boost helps ease ant nerves about their new business.

“It’s an extra holiday weekend,” said Tim. “Holiday weekends are important to this industry. You have to make the money and that’s you’re time to make it, when you’re full, so, that’s been at least reassuring to us.”

Other business owners like Montooth, who has been running his restaurant for more than 40 years, says this weekend will be just another opportunity to show new visitors how great Sweetwater really is.

“We’ll increase our staff and our order of the food and so on,” said Montooth. “We’re normally used to being real busy anyway, so it’s not going to be anything we hadn’t done before.”

Even though the event is still six months away, the town is already getting ready.

“We’re looking into astrology clubs and people like that who might want to talk to the kids and give them a little better understanding of what exactly is happening,” said Cathy. “We’re looking into purchasing the special glasses people would wear.”

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