August solar eclipse to bring stargazers from around the world t - KCTV5

August solar eclipse to bring stargazers from around the world to St. Joe

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And while it won't happen until Aug. 21, stargazers from around the world aren't taking any chances. And for those in St. Joseph, an available hotel room is becoming just as rare as this incredible sight. (CBS) And while it won't happen until Aug. 21, stargazers from around the world aren't taking any chances. And for those in St. Joseph, an available hotel room is becoming just as rare as this incredible sight. (CBS)
ST. JOSEPH, MO (KCTV/CBS) -

In six months, the country will experience the first total eclipse of the sun in almost four decades.

And while it won't happen until Aug. 21, stargazers from around the world aren't taking any chances. And for those in St. Joseph, an available hotel room is becoming just as rare as this incredible sight.

You can feel it in the streets of St. Joseph. Just ask Brandi Abbott, who has lived there her whole life. She knows something big is coming.

"I don't ever remember anything this large coming to St. Joe since Jesse James back in the day," she said.

Up to a half million people could flood this town of 78,000 for the "great American total solar eclipse." It's the first that will be viewable from the continental United States since 1979.

Abbott, a sales manager at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center, sold out of rooms 18 months ago.

"We will sometimes sell out six months in advance but never to the point of two years in advance," she said.

Bookings from China have even been made at other hotels.

Along a 70-mile wide path coast-to-coast, the moon will block out the sun for more than two minutes. Right in the middle is little St. Joe, a prime viewing location.

Beth Conway is with the local convention and visitors bureau.

"Some of the best research that I've done has been from people who have said that this is not only a physical experience, but it's an emotional and spiritual experience," she said.

The last time this part of Missouri saw a total eclipse was way back in 1806. The next one here won't be until 2205.

Viewing areas are being set up all across town; even at the local airport where hundreds will camp out. The town is expecting so many people, even federal authorities are helping with preparations.

Other cities, including Charleston, SC are also in the path of the eclipse and have been quickly selling out of rooms.

The last time there was a coast-to-coast total eclipse in the U.S. was 1918.

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