Eclipse Fest

A man walks through David Street Station on Friday afternoon wearing an eclipse T-shirt.

Josh Galemore, Star-Tribune

People in groups of three and four moseyed down Second Street on Friday afternoon as the Wyoming Eclipse Festival began with relatively light crowds.

Vendors lounged on folding chairs and guitarists played to people in the Old Yellowstone District leading into a weekend festival that organizers have been planning since 2016.

Despite the lights crowds in the blocks adjacent to David Street Station, vendors seemed mostly unconcerned about their prospects for the weekend.

Ticker Lock, 44, Casper resident and owner of Rockin’ Burger and Dogs, said he had enjoyed steady sales Thursday night and he expected the same for Friday evening.

Friday afternoon, however, foot traffic trickled past his truck parked on the corner of Yellowstone Highway and Elm Street.

Lock said local support had been strong on Thursday night, though he had seen less tourists than expected.

“It’s Friday, people are still at work,” he said.

Christopher Weber, 38, of Casper, took a break from his painting business to run what he called an “Eclipse blessing tent.” Weber and his friend who identified himself only as “Mr. Jeff,” kicked back in camping chairs beneath fluorescent green paper signs advertising free dream interpretation.

The two Christian men, who also offered lessons on healing through forgiveness, seemed unconcerned with attendance numbers.

“When people come and are blessed, that’s what’s important,” Mr. Jeff said.

Thatiana Argueta, 47, Leayah Argueta, 15, and Lola B. Cardenas, 46, stood beneath a tent filled with art: original photography, stained glass and opaque watercolor paintings. The three woman, all Los Angeles transplants, said they had hoped for a bigger turnout Friday after driving past Thursday night’s festivities.

Cardenas said she thought out-of-town visitors were still just arriving and expected tourists to arrive downtown later in the evening.

“It seemed packed yesterday,” Leayah Argueta said. “I’m hoping it turns out that way.”

Shawn Houck, 43, owner of Frontier Brewing Company, said sales had been “exceedingly steady” through the day.

Houck said he expects the afternoon crowd of a couple dozen to grow considerably after 5 p.m.

Saturday will be the first time the brewery has been open for two consecutive days, and it will begin living up to its name Tuesday when the first batch of in-house beer starts fermentation. The batch will be ready to drink in about two weeks.

The afternoon’s ambiance was what he had hoped for, Houck said, as sunlight streamed in the front of his shop.

“It’s a good vibe downtown today,” he said.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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