Share This Article
It’s not just all hands on deck in Mountain Home for the upcoming 2024 solar eclipse.
Members of Calico Rock’s community are asking their fellow residents to become involved in the small town’s various solar eclipse committees ahead of the big day in April next year.
Various public meetings for the planning effort are being held at The Nook on Peppersauce Alley in downtown Calico Rock. The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. For interested residents who can’t attend, the Media Committee has set up a livestream for each meeting.
Livestreams can be found at the Solar Eclipse Information for Calico Rock Facebook page.
“We’ve had several general meetings over in The Nook to try and start spreading the word,” said Fredericka Silvey Johns, a Calico Rock resident who serves on the Media Committee. “Because Calico Rock is a tourist town, that’s one thing that keeps us alive, especially in the summer. We’re trying to present Calico Rock in the best light. We’re hoping that people see what Calico has to offer and how strongly we love the place, and that we’re really planning something.”
Since Calico residents began meeting over the eclipse several months ago, a variety of planning committees have formed, including a Media Committee, a Lodging Committee, a Food & Food Services Committee, an Activities Committee, a Traffic Control/Parking Committee, and a Public Safety/Health Committee.
Each committee is continuing to look for active volunteers.
Throughout their meetings, each committee has focused on creating a general idea of what to expect during the week of the eclipse. It should be noted that Calico Rock, with its high bluffs, is an ideal location to witness the 2024 eclipse. The city will be in one of the most direct paths of the solar eclipse and will receive one of the longest durations of darkness in the state.
School is expected to be closed in Calico Rock on April 8, 2024, as some 5,000 to 10,000 people enter the area. To help prepare for the potential crowds, the group has begun looking at what other cities are doing in the area.
The group recommends that residents, at a minimum, stock up on food and supplies in case local stores run out of goods. The Food Committee is also looking at getting churches to help prepare and sell food in the area. Calico’s Food Committee has also recommended that restaurants be closed during the eclipse.
There have also been discussions about setting up a central location with food trucks to feed people through the event.
The Science Committee is also considering setting up special telescopes to allow residents and tourists to look at the eclipse when the proverbial lights go out. The committee applied for a grant to help with funding, but the grant was not approved. The committee is also exploring eclipse glasses.
For marketing, the Media Committee is working with the Calico Rock Museum to spread the word about the eclipse on various radio stations. The committee has also ordered 500 T-shirts in preparation for the week. A Facebook page and QR code containing links to eclipse information have also been created.
For activities during the eclipse, the Activities Committee is looking at things that include both children and adults. A potential concert is being explored for the Saturday evening before the eclipse. River activities are also being explored.
Lodging in Calico Rock is already full, with most hotels and rentals being booked for the event. There are still open slots at camping grounds in the area. Some local residents are expected to rent out their land to the public for the eclipse.
Calico Rock’s City Council has approved primitive camping at Rand Park.
For safety, local first responders plan to use radios to maintain communication in case cell towers become overwhelmed. For health, Izard Regional Hospital is working to prepare for any medical needs or accidents.
The Health Committee also noted that the town’s only public restrooms are located in King and Rand Park, and at Trout Dock. There are currently no porta potties available for rent or purchase, though one vendor is working to increase production.
The committee is looking at putting more trash cans around the city. The Logistics Committee is still exploring parking options.
The Business Committee is looking to work with local businesses to prepare for a potential surge in customers.
The Izard County Office of Emergency Management is also working with local organizations to make preparations for the eclipse. They will be hosting a town hall meeting on Nov. 14 at the Ozarka Lecture Hall starting at 6 p.m. The lecture hall is located on the Ozarka campus in Melburne, Arkansas.