Casper is trying hard to make sure it’s ready for its moment in the sun — or lack thereof — when the total solar eclipse takes place next summer.
The city unveiled a new hotline Wednesday to answer questions from local businesses about regulations during the eclipse festivities, which take place Aug. 17-21, as well as help prospective visitors learn about lodging options and where you are and aren’t allowed to camp or park an RV.
“For questions and information related to city services during the Eclipse Festival, don’t be left in the dark,” Casper’s customer service supervisor Carla Mills-Laatsch wrote in a statement.
Mills-Laatsch said that the hotline was mainly targeted at visitors.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on the Oil City to watch the sun disappear behind the moon for 146 seconds on Aug. 21.
Casper is one of the best locations in the country to see the total eclipse, an event that was last visible in the continental United States in 1979, because it has one of the longest durations of eclipse and is expected to have relatively clear weather.
Despite heavy competition from other cities in the region and country — from Oregon to Tennessee — Wyoming Eclipse Festival director Anna Wilcox has said she is focused on visitor experience rather than attracting more tourists.
“It would be difficult, at this point, to market when 90 percent of our phone calls are, ‘Hey, I’m looking for accommodations and I can’t find any,” Wilcox said in September.
As of November, almost every Casper hotel that was accepting reservations for August was already sold out, and rooms were going for as much as $750 per night.
Mills-Laatsch said that the city had booked 42 out of 281 camp sites at Highland Park and 22 out of 47 RV sites at the Casper Events Center.
“We’ve been getting calls for several months,” Mills-Laatsch said.