The total solar eclipse is in three days, but the madness arrived in Charleston early Friday. Charleston city officials expect between 50,000 and 100,000 visitors over the weekend. The skies were busy around Charleston International Airport. Those in town for the eclipse packed common sense—certified eclipse glasses.
“Yes, I have eclipse glasses in my bag and I’m ready to go,” said Aaron Forest from Rochester, New York. Forrest said he’s spent roughly $600 this trip, booking his flight and hotel.
Forrest isn’t the only one spending big bucks for the once-in-a-lifetime experience. John Pappas flew in Friday morning from Chicago. He’s stay on the Isle of Palms with friends.
“All things considered, entertainment, transportation, which we used miles and points and that sort of thing, but I would say it’s probably a $1500 expense to see this,” Pappas said.
Janet Chenman and her husband also arrived Friday. The Virginia Beach couple has spent around $3,000.
Some said it’s a high price to pay for a minute-and-a-half of totality. But, for one reason or another, others said it’s worth every penny.
“(I’m excited) to see the change from night to day and then back to day again,” said Ryan Nordaune visiting from Minnesota.
"I've heard from people that it's almost like a really spiritual experience where it gets dark and the stars come out for a moment and just (you’re just like) 'wow, the universe is so amazing'” said Forrest. “So, I'm hoping I get that ‘wow’ feeling for a moment."
Glen Masline, also from Rochester, New York said he missed the last total solar eclipse in Charleston. This time around, he’s not missing the opportunity to catch an unforgettable moment.
"About 50 years ago, the entire physics department of where I went to college came to one of the Carolinas to view an eclipse, I didn't go,” Masline said. “So, about 50 years later, I'm meeting three of my classmates, two of my professors, and the then-physics secretary and we're all going to be down here to view the eclipse. Some of these people I have not seen since 1971."
People are crossing their fingers, hoping the weather cooperates so the trek here is worth it. But, rain or shine, view or no view, those in Charleston will experience darkness at 2:45 p.m. Monday.