It’s finally here.
After months of planning, worrying, preparing and maybe a little panicking, the weekend of the total solar eclipse has arrived. The event is expected to bring tens of thousands of visitors to our quiet state, all looking to view the celestial event and have an unforgettable experience. We welcome them and are very happy they’re here so that we can all enjoy this phenomenon together.
Their presence also means we in Casper and Wyoming have the opportunity to show the best of our state – and given its best features, that won’t be hard to do. We are fortunate to live in a place with unmatched natural beauty, outdoor recreation opportunities and thriving communities.
But without a doubt, the best thing about Wyoming is its people.
Our state is full of caring, compassionate, neighborly residents who are eager to lend a hand or spare a thought to make someone else’s day better.
Of course, that may take a little more thought and work than usual. We’ve known this was coming for a long time, so we’ve all stocked up on supplies, planned our travel routes and made our viewing arrangements for Monday’s big event.
But there are still so many unpredictable factors. How crowded will it be? What will traffic conditions look like? Will stores, restaurants, parks and museums be navigable?
In our largely rural state, we don’t see many crowds. The traffic jams we think about involve tourists stopping in national park roads to see bears and elk. We have the luxury of living at a slightly slower pace than our friends and families who reside in big cities.
This busy and exciting weekend is a change for all of us. At its best, it’s a high-profile opportunity for Wyomingites to show how welcoming they can be, and that starts with preparation.
We have to be ready to be patient. We must be ready to be flexible and adaptable. We need to be ready to be kind and calm, to provide directions or advice or a welcoming smile and a handshake.
This is our moment to shine, to show our visitors and the nation who we are. When this is over, our visitors should go home already planning their next visit. This weekend could be the beginning of something special.
And no eclipse can cast a shadow over that.