On Aug. 21 a solar eclipse will be going through parts of Missouri and several towns will be hosting festivals and events throughout the weekend of the eclipse to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event.
According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the last solar eclipse to hit Missouri was on Aug. 7, 1869 (148 years ago). The 1869 eclipse only covered the northeast corner of the state, but the 2017 eclipse will be visible from several towns in Missouri.
“We have several things already planned for the solar eclipse, but our plans are evolving and growing daily so be sure to keep in touch with us,” said Trish Erzfeld, director of the Perry County Heritage Tourism.
The Perryville Solarfest events will begin on Friday, Aug. 18, with a parade, music, and a carnival at the courthouse square and surrounding areas.
“On Saturday we will be having a Perry County Courthouse rededication ceremony and tours since we are renovating the courthouse this year,” said Erzfeld.
In addition, there will also be a sundial unveiling at the courthouse to commemorate the 2017 eclipse event.
“The North American Sundial Society is helping us with the sundial for the event,” said Erzfeld.
Food and drink vendors will be present on Saturday night as well as a moon pie eating contest, alien costume contest, and a street chalk art competition.
“We will also be having eclipse/science-related kid’s activities as well as a mobile planetarium at Perry Park Center, and dark sky Missouri stargazing locations,” said Erzfeld.
On Sunday, there will be a Perryville mudfest at Perryville City Park to share the importance of keeping the earth clean. Museums will also be open to the public as well as a natural area hiking, a 5K GlowRun & Walk later that night and live music, and food.
“Both of our wineries are planning viewing locations, great weekend music, and special vintage wines for the eclipse,” said Erzfeld.
The local brewery will also have a special eclipse beer and the coffee shop will have an eclipse brew as well.
“On Monday, Aug. 21, there will be various site locations where we will have science professionals and universities conducting various experiments,” said Erzfeld.
There will be a high altitude balloon flight at 100,000-plus feet geared with a camera, a gyroplane at 14,000 feet and periscope-geared with camera and live streaming, as well as ham radio experiments on solar eclipse effects on radio waves during totality.
Astrophotography, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and tours of a F-15 Eagle jet being restored are other experiments and events scheduled for Monday.
“I purchased our first order of 25,000 solar eclipse glasses and we are implementing our Library Telescope Program to encourage people to learn about astronomy,” said Erzfeld.
Other events leading up to the solar eclipse in Perryville include Dr. Angela Speck, National Eclipse Taskforce member and professor of physics and astronomy at Mizzou, who will be speaking at the Chamber of Commerce Lunch-N-Learn on Aug. 15 from 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.