Morgan County Correspondent

The eclipse is coming




MORGAN COUNTY — The sky will turn pitch black 12 days from today.

That will happen across Morgan County mid-afternoon April 8, the day of a total solar eclipse.

Morgan County is a prime location for viewing — for about 4 minutes — this natural phenomenon as the moon passes between the sun and your eyes.

The county’s two larger communities — Martinsville and Mooresville — have for months planned events to mark the observation and to entertain thousands of eclipse chasers who will crowd the county’s roads, campsites, parking lots and businesses for as much as four or five days. Eclipse-chasers are expected to start arriving in the county as early as April 3.

Emergency services officials and event organizers estimate at least 500,000 visitors will come to the county — an estimated 75,000-90,000 each for Martinsville and Mooresville. Smaller communities are also likely to see an influx.  

Tosha Daugherty, executive director of Visit Morgan County, said updates are being added daily to the group’s website: bit.ly/45kCEdN. She said the Visit Morgan County office, 460 S. Main St. in Martinsville, will be open all eclipse weekend for information.

“I think we are ready,” Daugherty said last week. “The challenge will be that the visitors feel welcome and have a good time.”

Regina Shelby, who has organized the three-day Mooresville Eclipse Festival, is dealing with late details for the town’s three-day event. See: mooresville200.com/eclipse.

“This is a big opportunity for us to showcase our town — what we have to offer,” she said last month. 

According to nationaleclipse.com, the total eclipse will come to Martinsville at 3:05:16 p.m. April 8 for a duration of 4 minutes. The eclipse will arrive at Mooresville at 3:05:35 p.m. and last 3 minutes, 53 seconds.

But two towns in western Morgan County will experience the total eclipse a few seconds before the rest of the county. Paragon will see it at 3:05:03 for 3 minutes, 59 seconds, and Eminence at 3:05:08 for 3 minutes, 49 seconds. 

Total eclipse times for other Morgan County communities are: Monrovia at 3:05:24 p.m. for 3 minutes, 51 seconds; Brooklyn at 3:05:29 p.m. for 3 minutes, 57 seconds; and Morgantown at 3:05:27 p.m. for 4 minutes, 2 seconds.

In Martinsville

The Morgan County Fairgrounds will be Martinsville’s designated viewing site.

Jimmy Nash City Park, 360 N. Home Ave., will host a glow-in-the dark kickoff party with activities beginning at 8 p.m. on April 5. Food trucks and other activities also will be available. The park will offer limited camping April 6-9.

A sunrise hike will step off at the park at 7 a.m. April 6. A craft fair and other activities are planned that day in the park from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A bonfire in the park is set to start at 8 p.m.

The Venue, 183 N. Jefferson St., will stage a concert beginning at 5 p.m. April 6 featuring The Filter Kings and Rose O’Neal.

Three bounce houses, big yard games and other activities are set for from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 7 at the park. 

The Venue will present a free showing of the movie “Space Jam New Legacy” at 8:30 p.m. April 7. An eclipse-themed poetry reading is also scheduled for that day at The Venue.

On April 8 — Eclipse Day — the fairgrounds will host a celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with food, games and other activities. 

Total E-glimpse of Martinsville, a scavenger hunt, began March 15 and lasts through April 12. Participants will search a nine-block area around the Morgan County Courthouse. The winner will get a $100 gift package. Contact the Sterling Butterfly, 96 E. Morgan St., or Martinsville Candy Kitchen, 46 N. Main St., for more information.

In Mooresville

Mooresville, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, has planned a three-day Eclipse Festival for local residents and visitors. 

The festival is scheduled for April 6-8, both downtown and at Pioneer Park on Indianapolis Road.

On April 6 and 7, activities are scheduled downtown from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and at Pioneer Park from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On April 8, activities at both locations are set for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival will feature vendors, food trucks, street fair attractions and entertainment downtown, Shelby said.

Pioneer Park will have a kids’ zone, kid-friendly vendors, a bounce house, a giant slide, an obstacle course and food trucks, she said. Admission bracelets to the kids’ zone will be $10 per day or $26 for all weekend.

On April 6, two bands — Cook & Bell and The Woomblies — will play from 6 to 9 p.m. at Pioneer Park.

On April 8, the day of the eclipse, a band called Atom Heart Mother, a Pink Floyd tribute band. will play at Bicentennial Park downtown from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Fittingly, one Pink Floyd album, “Dark Side of the Moon,” has a cut titled “Eclipse.”

As a protection for kids, I.D. wrist bracelets will be available both downtown and at the park. Parents’ names and cell phone numbers will be written on the bracelets so authorities can reunite any lost children with their families.

In Paragon

Paragon will provide viewing and concessions on April 8 at the Paragon Speedway, off Ind. 67 near the west edge of town.

Gates will open at 11:30 a.m. Gate fee will be $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12. NASA eclipse-viewing glasses will be included in the fees.

Grandstand seating will be available. General parking will be free. Handicapped parking will be available free close to the grandstands with plate or tag. Others who want to park close must pay $10.

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