• Union County expecting thousands of visitors for eclipse

    By: Berndt Petersen


    UNION COUNTY, Ga. - The countdown to the solar eclipse is on.

    The population of Union County in the North Georgia mountains is expected to double and maybe even triple three weeks from Monday.

    "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it's coming right through Blairsville and Union County,” local tourism director Tobie Chandler said.

    The event is expected to draw up to 40,000 visitors to an area that has a summer population of just 28,000.  Business owners in and around Blairsville can’t wait.

    "Our favorite customer is the first-time customer, because then we turn them into repeat customers,” restaurant owner Shawn Kight said.


    The local Chamber of Commerce is hosting three eclipse viewing parties. One of them will be on the fairways and greens of the county-owned golf course.

    "We're going to have hamburgers, cornhole, people on the putting greens -- sitting out and looking up at the sun,” event director Ashleigh Stephens said.

    There are 1,000 hotel rooms and cabins in the county, but officials say they’re already booked.

    "But there's a lot of people who are starting to rent out their fields so if you want to tent-camp or bring your RV, there will be some places. But as far as rooms, they're pretty much gone,” Chandler said.

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