5,000 people flood a town of 300 for the eclipse

STAPLETON, NE - On Aug. 21 the population of a small Nebraska town is expected to increase by 16 times its normal level.

Stapleton, Nebraska is directly in the center of the path of totality.

It will be in a total solar eclipse for about two minutes and 33 seconds, which is one of the longest totalities in the country. It's also one of the towns within the path that has clear skies the most often based on past observations.

So, thousands are descending on the rural town to take part in one of the most exciting solar events in our lifetime.

RELATED: We drove to Nebraska for the eclipse and here’s what we saw

A rural Nebraska town

Stapleton is located within the Sandhills of Nebraska, about 30 miles north of North Platte. 

Settlers first arrived in the area that is now Stapleton in 1884 shortly after the Civil War. Logan county was organized a year later and the town of Stapleton was eventually founded in 1912.

The town was named after the friend of one of the original officials of the townsite.

By 1929, the new town was vying to become the seat of Logan County. They were successful and remain the county seat today.

At last count, the official population of Stapleton is 305.

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They town itself is home to a post office, the Logan County Courthouse, two boutiques, a coffee shop, Frey's General Store, a market and deli, the Veteran's Memorial Building and a few other local businesses. The rural community is surrounded by farms and ranches.

Eclipse on the range

On Sunday, the Logan County Fairgrounds in Stapleton were home to the town's annual rodeo. But by Monday it will be the center of Stapleton's eclipse events.

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Visitors can buy a $10 ticket onto the fairgrounds to watch the eclipse. It includes a pair of eclipse glasses, a bottle of water and parking. 

There will be live music leading up to the eclipse as well as food trucks and craft tents on the fair grounds.

After the eclipse, the town is hosting an after-eclipse bash with a beer garden, craft fair, flea market and antique car show. 

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For those who arrived in town early, the craft fair opened was also open all day on Sunday. Also included in the pre-eclipse activities: a concert, eclipse talk and stargazing Sunday night.

Looking for more eclipse coverage? Go to: http://www.9news.com/eclipse.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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