WATKINS GLEN, NY (WENY) -- On April 8th, a near-total solar eclipse will pass over our region. But how does an astronomical event like this, have an impact on the Watkins Glen economy?

"We're excited that the solar eclipse is [passing over] Schuyler County...There are big plans where the details are yet to be determined, but there's going to be quite a bit of activity happening in the first week of April. Which is [great] when you think about the economic impact because it's early April, you usually think of the season being May through October. This stretches it out [and] we're encouraging businesses to stay open and open early," said the Executive Director for the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, Nigar Hale.

Hale said there will be plenty of things happening leading up to and the day of the solar eclipse. She said one special event will be a cruise, which doesn't typically set sail until the warmer weather returns.

"Captain Bill's is a great example. They're [going to] have a cruise that's open to 200 people. When you talk about taking an afternoon cruise in early April, when do you have the chance to do that?" said Hale.

Local businesses like the Blackberry Inn Kitchen and the Blackberry Inn Bed and Breakfast plan to do something special for the solar eclipse.

"This is our first year, so everything is a first for us [with] what to expect in January, February, and what to expect for a full solar eclipse. We're going to consider doing a special with different bakery items...and something like a niche that we could tie in with the eclipse. [We could] probably also partner with other businesses, especially the Bed and Breakfast...We can partner with Captain Bill's [like a] stay with us [and] get a ticket for their cruise. [Or even] with the bakery [where you'd] get a little basket to take with you," said Co-owner of the Blackberry Inn Kitchen and Blackberry Inn Bed and Breakfast, David Hertel.

Hertel said the solar eclipse will help draw people to the region and enjoy all of what the area has to offer.

"You may be coming for the eclipse, but there's wineries and the Watkins Glen State Park to take advantage of. Then while you're doing that, you should grab a bagel [or] a coffee and [enjoy] all the things this region has to offer," said Hertel.

The Schuyler County Historical Society will partner with the Village of Watkins Glen, a local theater group, and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce to put an event at the Seneca Lake Events Center at Clute Park on April 8th.


"We're going to offer a 1920s party. It's [the] eclipse, with a little bit of murder-mystery history under the sun. We'll have lunch, [both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from] local businesses...We'll also have a short play that's based on a murder that took place in Schuyler County in the 1920s. There will [also] be a brief presentation on the eclipse of 1925 that also took place [over] Schuyler County," said the Executive Director of Museums with the Schuyler County Historical Society, Heather O'Grady-Evans.

Hale said she expects a large influx of thousands of people who will come to or pass through Watkins Glen to watch the solar eclipse. To view the eclipse safely, it's important to have a special pair of approved glasses. You should also never look directly into the sun.

To purchase a ticket for the 1920s-themed murder-mystery event, click here.