Juneau residents and visitors are welcome to crowd at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for a chance to be on national TV — just leave the latte at home, center director John Neary said.
“We do have bears roaming around this area,” he said. “No food or beverages, including that warm latte that people will want in their hands at 3 a.m. It’s really, really important in this case for these animals to have no access to human food or drinks.”
In anticipation of the filming of NBC’s Today Show beginning at 3 a.m. Thursday in the visitor center’s pavilion, the area outside the center will be open to the public starting at 2 a.m. Filming starts early so the show can be broadcast live at 7 a.m. East Coast time, Neary said. Crews have already been filming at the glacier as of Wednesday morning, he said.
Only one star of the Today Show, Natalie Morales, will be present at Thursday’s filming, Neary said. Morales is filming in Juneau for a segment in which she goes on vacation to three places, one of which is Alaska, he said.
“She’s coming to the Mendenhall because we have the glacier and bears and cold and salmon,” Neary said.
Most people will not be allowed in the pavilion with Morales, but can crowd around it, Neary said. NBC wants to put people on TV, he said. A lot of residents have called Neary and asked him if they’d be able to get on the show, he said.
“It’s NBC’s call; it’s their show,” Neary said, laughing. “NBC is interested in pulling out of the audience certain people to do a one-on-one with Natalie. It’s going to be up to them how they run the show, the producers in charge.”
Onlookers are allowed to bring signs, as long as they’re friendly, Neary added, but won’t be allowed to climb on the outside walls of the pavilion in hopes of 15 seconds of fame.
The parking lot won’t open until 2 a.m., and camping out to get a good spot isn’t recommended, he said. Most of the parking will be in the middle lot and along the road leading to the center, but there will be no parking allowed on the cliff side. Cones will be set up as a reminder.
Neary reminded the public to dress appropriately for the wee hours at the glacier, and eat breakfast — or a midnight snack — beforehand.
“Eat and drink your coffee before you come,” he said. “The forecast is for showers, and of course it’s going to be pretty cool at 3 a.m.”
• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.