2017 will long be remembered as the year of the Great American Eclipse and most notably for Wyomingites, the Wyoming Eclipse Festival. The city of Casper hosted thousands of visitors during the four-day festival, and we put our best foot forward. Downtown businesses worked hard to open in time for the celestial event, the David Street Station unveiled its first phase just in time for the party and the whole town stopped in silence for two surreal minutes while the day turned to darkness and the eclipse took our collective breath away.

Downtown development

Spurred in part by the eclipse festival, Casper’s downtown got quite a facelift in 2017. New restaurants and bars opened along downtown and in the Old Yellowstone District, like The Gaslight Social, Frontier Brewing Company and Yellowstone Garage’s bar and grill. And old ones got makeovers, like the Wonder Bar and Karen and Jim’s. There’s no shortage of good food, good drinks and something to do at any time of the year, and the once-stagnant downtown area has a new vibrancy thanks to the efforts of local entrepreneurs.

Police chief

Notable in 2017 was the ousting of former Chief Jim Wetzel from the Casper Police Department and the following search for a replacement. The position was filled in an interim capacity by Capt. Steve Schulz and we thank him for his efforts to improve relationships between citizens and police, such as hosting monthly briefings in public spaces so the community can share input. Keith McPheeters was recently named the department’s new chief, and we’re glad to have the position filled in a permanent capacity going into the new year.