Eclipse Visitors Touring Columbia and Impacting Business

People are coming all over the world to Columbia for Monday's eclipse. News19's Nic Jones reports.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Downtown Columbia felt the heat Sunday with all the visitors coming in for the Great American Solar Eclipse.

People went around Main Street to check out many of the restaurants and shops. One of those people was Joey Gonzalez who traveled from Puerto Rico to watch the event.

"I went to Main Street with them having the food fest. Just going into the businesses, visiting their restaurants, visiting the hotels, visiting the whole area, and learning from the culture that this city has to offer," said Gonzalez.

Although he's never been to Columbia before, this is familiar territory for him after already seeing a total solar eclipse. Gonzalez has advise for those who want to remember the eclipse in the long run.

"Just enjoy with your friends. Don't take pictures of the sun. Take pictures of the activity. In twenty years, those pictures are going to talk to you and those pictures are going to bring you back good memories from the eclipse event," said Gonzalez.

Many folks headed down Gervais Street to the Vista to check out what was going on over there.

Ernest Lee, known as the Chicken Man, set up shot on the side of the street in hopes to have some good business with the visitors. Lee had some of his usual paintings like the ones with Prince, Michael Jackson, and John F. Kennedy. He also had some unique artwork featuring the eclipse.

"I'm hoping for a great turnout tomorrow. Right now I've got about eight of (these paintings). I'm working on more," said Lee.

The artist said he's talked to people who's traveled internationally from the U.K.

The Blue Marlin on Gervais Street was packed with people from all parts of the world too. The restaurant has seen people from Japan and Ireland. The owner, Ryan Dukes, says businesses in the area can showcase what makes the Capital City great.

"It's going to allow these people that are coming into town to see what Columbia has to offer. There's so many people who's coming and said we're going to visit the museum, we're going to the zoo, we're going to go out and see Lake Murray. The Solar Eclipse is kind of the catalyst to bring those people in here and actually show off what we do have to offer," said Dukes.

It's estimated that more than two million people will be in the Midlands to watch the Eclipse.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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