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Hays County braces for influx of visitors coming to witness the total eclipse

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HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) –  On Monday afternoon, a few picnic tables are open at the Jester King Brewery just outside Dripping Springs, Texas. In four weeks, during the total solar eclipse, there won’t be an open seat in the house. 

“We’re expecting somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 [people],” said co-founder Jeff Stuffings. “We think it’s going to be one of the biggest days in our history.”

Jester King will host a ‘Path of Totality’ party, which, among other things, will feature live psychedelic rock, an artisan craft goods market, and a special edition ‘Path of Totality’ I.P.A. brew. Dripping Springs will fall within the path of totality, the thin track across the U.S. from which the sun will appear totally obscured, on April 8.

Stuffings said he is mostly excited, albeit slightly apprehensive. 

“For the Eclipse, for the first time ever, we are limiting the number of parking spaces we have because we’re afraid otherwise it literally could get overrun,” Stuffings said. “We’re trying to do what we can to be prepared for a big influx. But overall, I’m pretty excited about it.”

Hays County Prepares 

Neighboring Travis and Kendall Counties have both issued disaster declarations ahead of the celestial event. By enacting the declaration, the counties can take action more easily to protect citizens. It also frees up funding to bring additional law enforcement support.

Mike Jones, Hays County’s Director of the Office of Emergency Services, said the county has been preparing for the influx of visitors for months and it will likely not need additional funds brought about by a disaster declaration. 

“We haven’t exhausted the resources [and] I think we have a good plan going forward,” Jones said. 

“We want to ensure that people have a good time when you do visit our county,” he continued. [The] major concern is public safety. Just because we’re having an event doesn’t mean public safety needs don’t end – people still have falls, people still have structure fires, and you still have accidents.”

Jones encouraged people to fill up on gas and stock up on groceries at least a few days ahead of the event on April 8. If inclined to move around the county on the day of the event, Jones said it’s important to “pack your patience.”

“Bring five pounds of patience with you when you come to the eclipse. You’re going to need it when it’s time to go home,” Jones said.  

For more tips, the Hays County Office of Emergency Services has a website with information on how to be prepared for the eclipse. 

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