Near Record Crowds Converge On Northeast Kansas & Southeast Nebraska

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Expectations for near record crowds of visitors converging on northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska to witness the solar eclipse appear on a track not to disappoint. A significant uptick in travelers, and particularly out of state guests, began building as early as Friday.

Guests from as far away as Switzerland had logged in at the Marshall County Visitors Center. As the weekend progressed, especially Sunday, the numbers continued to increase. Many are staking lookout sites locally, and many local residents are hosting family and friends as well. Others will continue journeys a bit further to capture the maximum totality, particularly north towards Beatrice, and east toward Hiawatha.

Marysville sought to share some of the visitors’ attention with activities Sunday. The Black Squirrel Scavenger Hunt proved popular, as many were delighted with the solar eclipse glasses they wore. A warm afternoon greeted a steady crowd for the Band Jam, and the day concluded with a glow run in the City Park. Tourists from states as far away as Massachusetts, Texas, and Oklahoma were among many others from Kansas that stopped for a bit in Marysville.

Several merchants and restaurants extending hours to accommodate. The most popular destinations were those offering eclipse memorabilia, and any rumored to still have the short supply of eclipse glasses on hand. They were in short supply, and motel accommodations were also sold out Sunday evening.

Beatrice, which expected huge crowds for events at the Homestead National Monument was so overwhelmed with numbers that shuttle bus routes were reduced to one, and the Gage County Fairgrounds served as a secondary staging point for the overflow.

Northeast Kansas was also in the national spotlight as ABC News converged on Troy for an evening report on their radio and television network. Those and other communities plan additional activities today, and traffic is expected to remain heavy as everyone now nervously watches the weather forecast to see if the moon, or afternoon clouds, will obscure the sun today.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.