The City of Casper, Natrona County and visitors still will celebrate the total eclipse of the sun in August 2017, but probably with not the big of a splash as had been considered in recent months.

Last week, Casper Fire-EMS Chief Kenneth King wrote and email to Mayor Charlie Powell, saying he and other organizers of EclipseFest are suggesting the city not sign a professional service contract any time soon with an outside company because of budget and public safety concerns.

King has been among a committee preparing for the event, and his primary interest has been public safety. Natrona County Emergency Management Coordinator Lt. Stewart Anderson also has been reviewing infrastructure issues.

A small group within the committee had proposed Casper City Council sign a $275,300 contract with the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Forte Events to run a major event Aug. 17-21.

However, council members tabled the proposal, saying they wanted to look at that agreement more closely. Meanwhile, Bob Price of Townsquare Media had proposed his company with its national event planning connections, be allowed to submit a proposal to run EclipseFest. (Townsquare Media is the parent company of K2 Radio.)

King suggested the city not hire an overall event organizer, especially in light of probable budget restrictions for Natrona County and its cities and towns.

Instead, he proposed, and Powell agreed, those individuals and companies that want to participate in a more coordinated event enter into negotiations with Townsquare Media.

King wrote in the email that he's envisioning an event that would resemble a larger version of the Lander Brewfest.

The Brewfest attracts about 2,000 visitors.

King wrote he thinks a scaled-down EclipseFest would attract about 10,000 people.

Casper is one of the largest cities in North America on the center line of the total eclipse on the morning of Aug. 21, when it will be engulfed in darkness for about two-and-a-half minutes.

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