Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady. Photography courtesy of Sumner County Convention & Visitors Bureau; The City of Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and the U.S. Postal Service.
Billed by some as “The Great American Eclipse,” the total eclipse set for Monday, August 21 will enter the U.S. in Oregon and exit North America in South Carolina. The path of the eclipse, however, is quite narrow.
Many who desire to see this rare event will have to travel to the eclipse’s 70-mile wide path which runs through northern Middle Tennessee and through Sumner County.
“We are expecting visitors from all over the world to converge in Middle Tennessee, and particularly in Sumner County,” said Barry Young, Executive Director of the Sumner County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We are anticipating an unprecedented additional 500,000-1.4 million people in Middle Tennessee on August 21,” added Taryn Hill, Operations Manager of the Sumner County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The Nashville attendance projection is an additional 800, 000. Lodging accommodations are full in Sumner County and in all of our state parks.”
Tennessee Eclipse Celebrations
A number of Tennessee communities will host celebrations to welcome the first total solar eclipse in decades. “The closer Tennessee locals and travelers get to the centerline of the solar eclipse’s path, the better the view,” said Amanda Stravinsky, Public Relations Media Specialist for the state of Tennessee. For more information about the eclipse, visit www.greatamericaneclipse.com.
The total eclipse will be visible throughout Sumner County including Goodlettsville, Hendersonville, Portland and Westmoreland. However, White House, Gallatin and Castalian Springs are near or on the center line of the eclipse’s path, which will afford viewers a longer glimpse of the total eclipse.
The actual viewing of the total eclipse, otherwise known as totality, will occur for a longer period of time the closer you are to the center of the path. Viewing of totality will be as little as 30 seconds on the outer edges of the path and as much as 2 minutes 40 seconds at the center of the path. The center line tracks just north of White House, TN and actually goes through Triple Creek Park in Gallatin and Bledsoe Creek State Park outside of Gallatin near Castalian Springs.
The Gallatin TN Eclipse Encounter will take place, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, August 21 at Triple Creek Park. Gallatin, Tennessee will have the longest viewing length of totality with 2 minutes 40 seconds of darkness. The park will open at 7 a.m.
Headlining the Encounter will be Kimberley Locke, a graduate of Gallatin High School who gained fame with her participation in the 2003 American Idol television series where she was second runner-up. There will be food; programs that include Rommy Kirby’s giant yoga session, Become One with the Universe, beginning at 9 a.m.; vendors; and a great place to see the Total Solar Eclipse unfold.
The center line of totality runs through the edge of Triple Creek Park, Gallatin’s largest park at 185 acres. This event is free. There are no tickets. Organizers are expecting tens of thousands of people. Mark Galant will sing from 10-11 a.m.
Then Kimberly Locke will perform at 11 a.m. The partial eclipse will occur at 11:59 am. Weather permitting, Ric Honey, a graduate of Hendersonville High School and chairman of the Memphis Astronomical Society, plans to be on stage informing viewers of what they are seeing during the eclipse. The event will conclude at 3 p.m. Visit www.solareclipsetn.com, www.facebook.com/gallatineclipse, and tnstateparks.com/activities/solar-eclipse-at-the-park-2017.
White House, Tennessee Viewing, Discover Totality Eclipse Viewing Event on Monday, August 21. The White House Area Chamber of Commerce and City of White House will host an eclipse viewing event at the Soccer Complex. Attendees may expect live feeds from NASA, food trucks, music and more. For more information call 615-672-3937 or email at email@example.com.
For a complete list of Sumner County hotels, shopping and restaurants, visit www.visitsumnertn.com.
The first total solar eclipse since 1478 will happen at 1:25 pm August 21 in downtown Nashville.
Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse, “it’s the first total solar eclipse to sweep from coast to coast since 1918. The path of totality is only 70 miles wide, touches no land outside the U.S., and Nashville is the largest city within that path.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Music City Solar Eclipse Festival & Viewing Party will take place August 19-21 at Adventure Science Center. Outside the building, festival goers may enter a universe of exciting interactive science and technology exploration with more than 100 booths arranged in “worlds” to explore everything from “Sci-Fi Science” to the “Tech of Tomorrow.”
The free outdoor festival will feature live music performances, live science demonstrations, solar telescope viewing stations, science-themed games, contests, prizes, local food trucks and even a splash pad.
Inside the Center, ticket holders have the opportunity to explore “Nature Unleashed”—a traveling exhibition focused on extreme weather events, enjoy exciting hands-on science activities and demonstrations, attend discussions with special guest speakers, learn about 3D printing and other technology in the Innovation Incubator, and see “ECLIPSE: The Sun Revealed” in the Sudekum Planetarium to prepare for the big event.
Indoor festival ticketholders will also have access to all of the outdoor festival activities while still being able to escape the Nashville summer heat in the comforts of an air conditioned building.
For the Eclipse Viewing Party Aug. 21, the outdoor festival transforms into a large viewing area with a giant screen broadcasting footage from NASA of the eclipse from space, live music performances and special speakers, live science demonstrations, solar telescope viewing stations, science-theme games, contests, and prizes, food trucks and a splash pad.
For tickets and more information, visit www.adventuresci.org/eclipse.
Tennessee State Parks
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
The 8th Annual Italian Lights Festival & Solar Eclipse Weekend features the culture and cuisine of Italy and a dash of southern charm in a family-friendly environment from 2-10 p.m. August 18, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. August 19-20 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 21. This four-day festival of food, wine and music celebrates the vibrant Italian traditions—in the heart of Nashville.
For additional information on these and all Tennessee State Park events, visit www.tnstateparks.com.
Clarksville is in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse of August 21, giving observers approximately 2 minutes 18 seconds of totality at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Learn More About The Eclipse
Join Dr. Rhea Seddon, the eighth woman inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and one of the first six women to enter the NASA Astronaut Program at 7 p.m. August 21 at the Austin Peay State University Dunn Center to hear her experience with NASA as she highlights the value of pursuing a career in the STEM fields. For more information about Seddon, visit http://astronautrheaseddon.com.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.—Beachaven Vineyards Winery located at 100 Dunlap Lane. Phone: 931-645-8861. Website: www.beachavenwinery.com
The Beachaven Winery event, organized by 5 Star Media Group, includes reserved seating for group tour buses and the public. Enjoy live music, food trucks, activities for kids and a special label wine, Blackout Blackberry. 10 a.m.—Liberty Park at 1188 Cumberland Drive. Phone: 931-645-7476.
Guest speakers from Austin Peay State University will be on hand to explain this once-in-a-lifetime event. Food trucks will be selling their wares. Parking and seating are on a first come, first serve basis. Eyewear is required. For the latest regional eclipse news, visit
Hopkinsville is the Point of Greatest Eclipse
What does that mean? It is the point where the axis of the moon’s shadow passes closest to the earth. Spectators will have the best view of the full corona for the longest duration of time.
“Hopkinsville, Kentucky, one hour west of Bowling Green, Kentucky, will be one of the best places to view the solar eclipse on August 21,” said “Brooke Jung, Solar Eclipse Marketing & Events Consultant for the City of Hopkinsville. “We have been designated by NASA as the point of greatest eclipse,” said Jung. “The viewers will get the best view of the solar corona.”
Hopkinsville is expecting between 50,000-100,000 visitors to their community throughout Eclipse weekend. “With 81% of the US population within 600 miles of the path of totality, this will easily be the most viewed solar eclipse in history,” said Jung.
During Eclipse weekend over 20 festivals and events will take place, leading up to The Summer Salute Festival on Monday, August 21.
“As the designated Point of Greatest Eclipse, Hopkinsville, KY is the point where the moon’s axis is closest to the earth, which makes us especially appealing to astronomy enthusiasts,” added Jung.
Guests in Hopkinsville will have an opportunity to build a unique itinerary and celebrate this extraordinary event with fellow eclipse chasers. Reservations from 34 states and 12 counties have been received. In addition to general science enthusiasts NASA scientists and the Chief Observer of the Vatican Conservatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno, will be welcomed to Hopkinsville.
Hotel rooms are still available in Hopkinsville. However, the City has created camping opportunities at a its public parks, complete with portable shower and restroom facilities, food vendors, shuttle service and a NASA astronomer to provide commentary on the Eclipse experience on August 21. These spots are 20’x 15’ and are $30/night with a 3-night minimum.
Jung added that the city is also creating viewing locations and has received a huge interest in these spots. For $30 guests will receive a 15’x 15’ location complete with a parking spot, access to food vendors and an unobstructed view of totality. These spots are filling quickly. Additional sites will open as needed.
Postal Service to Release A Solar Eclipse Stamp
Even the U.S. Postal Service is getting in on the nationwide solar eclipse craze.
In April the Postal Service announced that it will release a stamp showcasing the August 21 total solar eclipse. Known as the “Total Solar Eclipse Forever” stamp, it transforms from the image of a black, eclipsed sun into an image of the moon with the heat of your finger.
The stamp image is a photo of a total solar eclipse seen in Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006. The photo was taken by retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka “Mr. Eclipse.”
It’s the first U.S. stamp to use thermochromic ink, which changes color with heat and light. Using the body heat of your thumb or fingers and rubbing the eclipse image will reveal an underlying image of the moon, also taken by Espenak. The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools. The back of the stamp pane provides a map of the eclipse path.
Eye Safety During The Eclipse
• To avoid eye damage don’t look directly at the sun.
• Sunglasses won’t provide sufficient protection.
• Use an approved solar filter like #14 welder’s glass.
• Create a pinhole projector with a cardboard box.
Young urges viewers to educate themselves regarding eye safety during the eclipse event. “Viewers will need to wear special certified protective glasses that are safe for direct solar viewing during the partial eclipse, when the moon is moving in front of the sun, and then after totality when the moon is moving away from the sun,” Young said. Sumner County, TN will give over 20,000 glasses to the viewers until they are gone.
Fun Facts about the 2017 Solar Eclipse
• Astronomers predict this to be the most viewed solar eclipse in history.
• Before 2017, the last total solar eclipse visible from Kentucky was on August 1, 1869, from the U.S. (CA).
• The average speed of the moon’s shadow will be 1,449 mph across Kentucky.
• 4% of the U.S. population lives under the path of totality.
• Four planets will be visible during totality: Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury.
• It will take 90 minutes for the moon’s shadow to cross the U.S.
• Fewer than 1 person in 1,000 has ever seen totality!
What To Know
What: The Solar Eclipse in Full Totality
When: Monday, August 21, 2017
Where: Primarily in Middle Tennessee, specifically in Sumner County and Nashville, and in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The Middle Tennessee communities of Gallatin, White House, Clarksville and Nashville will experience a partial or a total eclipse. In addition, Hopkinsville, Kentucky will host over 20 events, the largest of which will be The Summer Salute Festival on August 21.
Websites: www.greatamericaneclipse.com • www.eclipseville.com