VAN BUREN COUNTY, Ark.- The solar eclipse of 2017 may be just a memory now, but it’s never too early to start preparing for the next one.

“It is amazing,” says Dale James, Van Buren County Justice of the Peace.  “Film doesn’t catch how bright that light is, film doesn’t catch how sparkly it is”

James just got back from Carbondale, Illinois where he caught the most recent celestial event.   He decided to embark on the reconnaissance mission after discovering that Central Arkansas is in the path of totality for the 2024 Solar Eclipse.

“I went up there to see what they were doing to prepare.”

He had to stay at a motel two hours away from Carbondale, what he calls ground zero for viewing.  While there he took notes about how prepared they were for the influx of people. 

“In 7 years we can prepare for logistics, we can prepare for lodging, we can prepare for parking,” says James.

Several cities had tens of thousands of visitors flocking in for the show in the sky. 

The small Arkansas county of just over 17,000 says they’re no strangers to tourism and welcome the opportunity to play host next time around.

“We get one chance at perfection and Van Buren county is going to make everyone’s experience for 2024 the perfect experience,” says James.

The next solar eclipse visible in the United States will be on April 8, 2024.