Rangeley fills with crowds before the eclipse

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By journalsofus.com

“The streets are full. The stores are full. We have people in our seats,” said one restaurant owner.

RANGELEY, Maine — People are starting to flock to cities in the path of totality before Monday’s total solar eclipse.

“The streets are full. The stores are full. We have people in our seats,” said restaurant owner Monika Liedl of The Red Onion.

Out-of-towners packed area restaurants and shops Sunday as they passed the time before the main event.

Chris Pulsifer has been planning this trip for his family to see the eclipse for more than six years.

“We can’t wait until tomorrow afternoon,” said Pulsifer, who traveled from New Jersey. “We are very excited about this.”

While visitors are eager to see the celestial event, Mainers are excited for the opportunity to see it in their own backyard, too.

“We’re going to lock the doors for about an hour so the team can enjoy it too. They deserve it as much as anyone else,” Liedl said.

The Rangeley Chamber of Commerce is waiting for about 20,000 people in town for the eclipse.

Liedl said some of his staff will be working double shifts and some former employees will return to work for the day.

“We’ve been preparing since last year when we found out, but you can only plan so far and hope for the best when the day comes,” he said.

A store owner in Rangeley and Kingfield said the eclipse is a relief and generating more business in the midst of a fairly slow winter.

Julie Swain, owner of Rangeley Made in Maine, began selling her own eclipse T-shirts and, after a week, sold several hundred.

“I feel really blessed because both of my stores, the one in Kingfield on the way to Sugarloaf and the one in Rangeley, are in the path of totality, so it’s a nice economic boom at the end of winter,” Swain said.

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