Sweetwater leaders, businesses appreciate success of eclipse festival

Thousands of people traveled to the small East Tennessee city to watch the total solar eclipse.

SWEETWATER - Sweetwater’s population grew by 20,000 people for Monday’s eclipse, according to city leaders.

On Tuesday, that population went back down to about 6,500.                                                       

“You wouldn’t even know we had a festival yesterday,” Sweetwater City recorder Jessica Morgan said.

Sweetwater city leaders planned for about a year-and-a-half for the eclipse, and Morgan said that planning paid off. She also said the visitors were “kind” and “gracious.”

MORE: Relive the total solar eclipse

Sweetwater Mayor Doyle Lowe said he’s proud of how his city welcomed the tourists.

“We wanted to show the world, you might say, that we are very hospitable and we want them to come back and see us,” Lowe said.

Sweetwater leaders said they sold about $44,000 in parking and t-shirt sales. The city sold out of t-shirts, but will have a link on its Facebook page for people to order them for fall. 

“We had someone offer us $100 for the shirts on our backs yesterday,” Morgan said.

MORE: Totality thrills thousands gathered in Sweetwater

The festival cost the city about $20,000, and after paying out overtime, leaders say they believe they won’t have to use taxpayer money on the event.

Other shops in Sweetwater saw a good day for business as well.

Ashley Ingram, the owner of Her Majesty Boutique, said her store was jam-packed all day.

“Sales were through the roof,” Ingram said. “I have a bunch of customers who found me online and I think will continue to be awesome customers for me.”

Jack Wilson, the owner of Sweetwater Flower Shop and the Mansion Restaurant, said he thinks nothing will top Monday.

“Ever? For Sweetwater? Yes, ma’am,” Wilson said.  

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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