The problem, as I see it, in preparing for the eclipse is that we don't have any idea as to how many people might show up. Last I heard, we still had a few (highly priced) rooms available, although rooms have been sold out for miles around Carbondale for several month. Of course,t his also happens during SIUC's graduation weekend as well. I have heard numbers floated anywhere from 5000 or roughly graduation weekend, to 50,000 to 100,000.
Fact is, we don't know how many people will show up. Carbondale is in competition with communities across the nation hosting events for the Great American Eclipse. We are listed along with 9 other communities as top places to see the eclipse and, while we are closest to the spot of longest totality, communities further to the west are projected to have better weather. Longest totality won't mean much if we have heavy cloud cover that day.