“The likelihood of this sort of event occurring is extremely rare,” said Dawn Davies, the night sky program manager with the Hill Country Alliance. An amateur astronomer and a NASA eclipse ambassador, Ms. Davies is leading the alliance’s efforts to organize and support eclipse events in the area. Though Saturday provided a test run, she said, the group has also been relying on the experiences of towns and cities along the Oregon-to-South Carolina path of the 2017 eclipse, which “really snuck up on a lot of folks.”
Patricia Moore, the executive director of the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau, barely waited till the moment of annularity had passed on Saturday to tell me, “Now is the time to start booking” accommodations for April. At the nearby Best Western, rooms for that eclipse are going for about $1,100 a night, Ms. Moore said.
In Bandera, the self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World, this eclipse came with wagon rides, Old West shootout re-enactments and one outrageously long-horned bull named Redneck. In addition to the watch party at the natural history museum — where replicas of prehistoric creatures loom outside and an impressive collection of New Spain artwork is on display within — there were other events all over town. For the total eclipse, more celebrations will most likely be added, and all of them will be larger and spread out over at least three days, since April 8 falls on a Monday.
A little over an hour away in the small town of Junction, Macy Brooks, the organizer of the Texclipse Music Festival, is also planning to go bigger in April. Her event, which on Friday and Saturday offered music, a chili cook-off, roping, and songwriting, salsa and margarita competitions, will run again from April 6 to 8. Ms. Brooks wants to expand by luring more-famous music groups to the festival, adding activities like bull riding and offering a camping site with a shuttle bus. She will also be hosting Elope at the Eclipse: For a $100 fee, which does not include the marriage license, couples attending the festival can tie the knot with an ordained minister and a photographer on site.
Josh White, an owner of Arrowhead Creek, a vineyard in Stonewall, is planning for a relatively quiet event at his winery in April. Depending on staffing, it will offer 250 spots, first to its wine club members and then to the public.