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Eclipse Sunday

People stick pins into a map Sunday showing where eclipse festival-goers traveled from during the Wyoming Eclipse Festival in downtown Casper. The event drew thousands of visitors to the city’s core.

High expectations can sometimes lead to disappointment, but Casper Mayor Kenyne Humphrey said Tuesday that the Wyoming Eclipse Festival lived up to its hype.

“It was perfect,” said Humphrey. “I don’t think it could have gone any better.”

The festival featured dozens of vendors, street performers, musicians and food trucks situated in the heart of Casper’s revitalized downtown. It began Thursday and culminated Monday with a free concert at the new David Street Station by Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band.

The successful event may have a few long-lasting effects on the city, according to the mayor.

Casper police decided Saturday to temporarily relax the city’s open-container restrictions, and allowed festival attendees to carry alcoholic beverages along most of Second Street.

Humphrey initially feared the looser rules would encourage some to act recklessly, but the mayor said residents and tourists alike remained responsible, which might prompt the city to make permanent policy changes.

“We might reevaluate how we handle alcohol [during events] in a small section of downtown,” she said.

Given that she’s only heard positive feedback from visitors, Humphrey said she wouldn’t be surprised if the festival also led to a permanent boost in tourism.

“We want them to come back,” she said. “The whole goal [of the festival was] to really showcase the city and what we can do and what we have here.”

The mayor added that city officials are “definitely” interested in hosting more festivals, and are open to suggestions from the community.

Officials prepared for up to 35,000 visitors in Casper. They don’t know yet how many people actually showed up or their economic impact, but three downtown businesses confirmed Tuesday that the festival was profitable for their shops.

Claire Marlow, the owner of Goedicke’s Custom Framing & Art Supply, said hundreds of customers stopped by her store this weekend. Her shop sits along Second Street, which served as the major thoroughfare for the Wyoming Eclipse Festival.

The shop usually has about 15 customers on a typical Saturday, Marlow said.

Vicki Burger, the co-owner of Wind City Books, said the bookstore was “very busy,” and added that she enjoyed meeting customers from all over the world.

Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters also saw a boost in business, according to owner Louis Taubert.

“I didn’t count them, but there were a lot [of customers]” he said. “I think the city of Casper and downtown did a wonderful job.”

Katie King covers the city of Casper.


Local Government Reporter

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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