MADISONVILLE, TENN. - On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the country, drawing millions of people into the path to witness the historic event. Many of those people plan to head to East Tennessee to watch the watch the moon cross in front of the sun.
But as the celestial event quickly approaches, local businesses are scrambling to prepare for all those potential customers.
One of those businesses is Tsali Notch Vineyard.
There is still plenty of work to be done at the Madisonville vineyard.
"I anticipate people are going to be all up and down the grounds waiting to get in on that day," said JD Dalton with the vineyard.
On Aug. 21, their muscadines are going to have plenty of company. The hilltop property is said to have one of the best views for the solar eclipse, an experience Dalton hopes to share.
"For 18 months we've been wrapping our brains around how do we capitalize, how do we open up our facility for people to come in and enjoy what we get to see on a daily basis," Dalton said.
The winery is hosting a free event during the eclipse, and phones have been ringing off the hook with interest since people realized the vineyard is a prime viewing location.
"And so it has been nuts since then. Getting 15 to 20 calls a day, emails, text messages things of that nature and trying to let the word be out there," Dalton said.
There's no reserved parking or seating, just 50 acres of open fields in the path of totality.
"Right now we're over 1,000 people committed to being here that I know of. And I anticipate about double of that that I don't even know of,” Dalton said.
But Dalton is hoping not only to share the sights, but also Tsali Notch’s passion for muscadine wine.
"I feel like it will give us a substantial boost. We've had emails from England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, just places from all over that would never had heard of us if not for the eclipse coming right in our back door," he said.
But in the meantime, he'll stay busy preparing, hoping it all leads up to a moment of relaxation come Aug. 21.
"We'll just do the best we can and definitely want everyone to enjoy and respect everyone else out here and enjoy the day. Basically stop just a minute and smell the roses almost,” Dalton said.
Tsali Notch will start letting cars in to park across the street at 7 a.m. on Aug. 21. The winery itself will not open until 10 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m.
The event itself is free but parking is $20 per car.
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