Arco plans festival for eclipse

In this May 20, 2012, file photo, the annular solar eclipse is seen as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains from downtown Denver. Destinations are hosting festivals, hotels are selling out and travelers are planning trips for the total solar eclipse that will be visible coast to coast on Aug. 21, 2017. A narrow path of the United States 60 to 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina will experience total darkness, also known as totality. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)


On the internet
To read the region’s most extensive coverage on the Great American Eclipse, go to postregister.com/2017-solar-eclipse.

Throughout the region, residents and businesses are finding ways to capitalize on the expected massive influx of tourist traffic for the Great American Eclipse.

In Idaho Falls, some residents have advertised their homes on Airbnb for as much as $3,000 per night during the eclipse.

And farther out in communities such as Arco, groups are also working to develop plans to appeal to eclipse chasers.

A group of business leaders there have organized an event called Arco’s Rockin’ Country Outdoors — ARCO for short — on the weekend of the eclipse.

The group started out planning to organize a yearly Independence Day concert and off-road vehicle rally to be held west of town near the airport, said John Danz, owner of Pickle’s Place and one of the organizers.

The plan was to draw in national headlining acts, but the group soon realized there wasn’t enough time to organize a full-blown festival.

“We started out trying to organize a music festival, but we didn’t get everything in order quick enough. So we decided to do the same thing on a smaller scale and decided to do it the same weekend as the eclipse,” said Dean Moncur, a local insurance agent.

The event will start Aug. 18 and run until the eclipse on Aug. 21. Campsites for four people plus admission to see all the bands and ATV events are $100. Day passes are $20.

Danz said in future years the group hopes to return to the idea of an Independence Day music and off-road festival featuring big national music acts.

Danz pointed out that much of Butte County’s economy relies on tourism.

“Most of our businesses survive on the tourist traffic that comes through in the summer,” Danz said.

Many in the region had hoped to convince Congress to redesignate Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve as a national park, hoping that would drive more tourism to prop up the local economy. A resolution to send that message to Congress passed the state Senate by a wide margin during the legislative session, but it was never given a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee where Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone, serves as chairman.

Danz said the organizers of the event hope a yearly concert and off-road vehicle festival will provide a route to draw in tourists.

“We’re going to do it every year from here on out, and we’re going to get major headliners along with local bands,” Danz said.

Moncur said that in addition to himself and Danz, Jeff and Tammy Frederici, Bobby Diers and Jaci Hill worked to organize the event.

More information can be found at arcosrockincountryoutdoors.com.


Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 542-6751.


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