Baby Town goes “hunting in the dark” in preparation for the 2024 solar eclipse and tries to reach out to a major eclipse, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, to attract visitors.
“Go big or go home,” Mayor Mike Robertson said of his quest to book the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to coincide with the “Fishing in the Dark” fishing derby taking place that day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Dirt Band was formed in 1955 and is best known for its song “Fishing in the Dark”.
A motion was made by Councilman Jacob McCormick to proceed with the acquisition of the band and passed unanimously. The city was expected to bid $50,000 this week.
“We’re hoping to be able to do the ceremony near the pond” on West Mississippi Boulevard, Robertson said.
Robertson asked Harley Spears, Robertson’s assistant, and softball fan Maggie Dent to talk about Monday’s eclipse.
“We expect people to come in the week before, Thursday, maybe Wednesday, and spend the entire weekend here, all day Monday,” Spears said. “I think there might be some word that the school won’t have a session on Monday. ASU used to be (live) a ‘bring your friends and family to work’ day, so it wouldn’t be a traditional day for most people in our community.
“The hunting derby will be hosted on that day. By that point, we should have two fully accessible ponds of approximately 60 acres…and plenty of space for everyone to visit.
Having two fishing ponds would look very nice from the road, Robertson said. “We want Pepe to show this (the eclipse event). I want Pepe to be a showcase for White County for this.”
“There have been a lot of other discussions about the eclipse. The county has had many meetings. Cersei is holding theirs. The last meeting of the Chamber (of Commerce) was about the eclipse. Cities, Chamber and College are working together.
Spears said the city doesn’t want to have a thing for eclipse day because there will be enough people in Pepe this weekend and “we’d like to maximize that.”
“The surrounding towns host people camping. They have concerts. They do big events all weekend to keep people in their area and keep them entertained,” Spears said. “We’d love to do that here, too.”
Spears said Sunday is seen as a possible night of praise and worship with some churches in Bibi’s community. “And having that on stage in the stadium because it’s already set up for that. Many churches already have the equipment and they’re used to doing that on a weekly basis. So this will be a good opportunity to connect with them and get them involved in our community which they haven’t been able to do as much since the (COVID-19) pandemic. ).”
The city “wants to get as many churches as they want to be involved in that, and they can also take their music and make it a very family-oriented, Sunday worship service,” Robertson said.
Dent told the board “We spent most of the afternoon getting those dates approved through the AFL in Arkansas, so we got approval for the April 6th date and they are 100 percent willing to support the city, whatever that looks like. They’re They support our parks 100 percent Anything we need from USA Softball they are willing to do for Baby City but this date has been approved.
The Spurs said they have spoken to Hometown Sports about hosting a softball tournament this weekend in partnership with the city. “So that’s the thing we’re going to do on Saturday.”
Robertson noted that many cities will allow people to pitch tents and book places. Towns near Bibi, like Morelton, rent campgrounds for as little as $600 a night for a few nights, Spears said. “It’s very primitive camping. Just a tent. No utilities, no electricity.”
Dent said the communities are “already steps ahead of us in planning for that. It’s going to be a safety concern. We’re going to have a lot of traffic. Bibi is one of the only areas that will be in complete darkness for more than three minutes, so that alone… our children will be in School We’ll be at work and we’ll look outside at noon and it’ll be pitch dark outside, and we haven’t seen that here, let alone in recent years.
Regarding the $600-a-night rental space, Dent said: “It’s weird and wild and crazy but people pay that much to come to the event because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing or a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” Something every six years.
Robertson said he was thinking more along the lines of $50 per spot to rent for camping. He said the city will calculate the number of spaces it can use. McCormick added, “We’re going to set the locations. That way it doesn’t become Woodstock.
“The theme is kind of ‘go here, stay here’, not ‘go here, move all over, get crazy and leave town’,” said Spears. It’s staying here, spending time here, having fun and things you can do to keep these people here.
Spears said what she is asking the community for is help. “There are people who run and can help us run fun.”
Spears mentioned competition to attract visitors to the area, including Russellville planning to create a tribute band for “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “buying every porta-pot in the whole state for the event, so they’ve been planning it since the past”. year.”
“We don’t want to be the second best destination, we want to be their first destination,” she said.
“We don’t want to be competitive,” Robertson said. “We want to be competitive.”