Small town in GA has big plans for solar eclipse

- There's just something about the small mountain town of Helen, Georgia. The trademark Bavarian architecture was designed to make you feel like you're in the Alps of Germany, even if it is the Appalachians of White County.

"It's beautiful. We are nestled in the northeast Georgia mountains with a gorgeous valley and it's just a very picturesque Alpine style town," said Helendorf Inn General Manager Catharine Gay Cleiman.

Helen is barely two square miles and the Chattahoochee River runs right through the middle of it. Just over  500 people call Helen home and just about all of them are eagerly awaiting the solar eclipse -- not to mention the 100 thousand or so tourists likely to descend on a valley that sits in the path of totality.

"Well, we haven't had an eclipse in 98 years, so I think I'm just as excited to see it as they are," said Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Ash.

Helen is small and quaint, but don't let the dirndl dresses and men's lederhosen fool you. Helen is still the home of Oktoberfest, which means folks in the small town know how to throw a big party.

"We're probably in the 25 to 30 thousand range when it comes to October visitors. So we can easily handle double or triple for a one day and once in a lifetime occurrence. We're ready to make sure everyone has a good time and enjoys the experience," Ash said.

Most of Helen's 20 or so hotels and motels are already booked and cabin space is limited.

"We're really excited. People actually started calling to book rooms a couple of months ago and we were a little surprised. But as of two weeks ago, we were primarily sold out, just a few cabins and rooms available," said Jerry Brown of White County's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Cleiman told FOX 5's Portia Bruner, there is no better place in Georgia to watch 100% of the eclipse and enjoy the great outdoors afterwards.

“We're expecting something absolutely gorgeous that's not going to be political. There aren't going to be any hard feelings, even if it's cloudy. We will still get a complete blackout even if it's raining rain or shine, the eclipse will happen and we'll have a fantastic time,” Cleiman said, as she stood smiling on Main Street with her traditional Oktoberfest attire.

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