It was rock star Prince who once wanted to party like it's 1999.
I say it's time to party like the sun is about to disappear.
For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will cross America. Out of pure happenstance, McMinnville is in the direct line and has been identified as one of the prime spots to view this natural marvel.
The McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen can't take credit for this cosmic convergence. And the School Board can't consider it a reason to pass a 19-cent tax increase.
But this rare occurrence can be seen as a time to celebrate and I want to give three cheers to our city officials, and other local organizations, for joining together and planning a blackout party.
Court Square will be blocked off for hours on Monday, Aug. 21, and there will even be T-shirt sales to commemorate the occasion when a solar eclipse darkens our door. We may never again experience this type of event in our lifetime so let's have a little fun.
Towns across America who are in the direct line of the eclipse, like McMinnville, have been seizing on this opportunity as a way to attract tourists. Hopkinsville, Ky., has even renamed its town "Eclipsville" in a run-up to Aug. 21.
CNN reports hotels and resorts in line to get the full impact of the eclipse are seeing a surge in bookings and, like our town, are planning events around it.
At the state capital of Jefferson City, Missouri, a Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" tribute concert will be held in conjunction with that city's festivities. A winery in Oregon is holding a "Wine and Swine" party to enhance viewing and attract visitors to its facility.
I think it will be a great joy to celebrate the disappearance of the sun, provided it returns after its roughly two-minute hiatus. If it doesn't return, I'm going to complain.
We can consider ourselves lucky because Tennessee is one of only 14 states that will get to experience the full brunt, or rather the full darkness, that accompanies the solar eclipse. If you're wondering what will happen, it will look like someone flipped a switch and turned off the sun in the middle of the day.
This is something that's only neat because we know the scientific reasons why and because we're expecting it. If it was a surprise, we'd all freak out.
As you might expect, NASA is making a big deal of all this and warning people not to look directly into the sun. This is important.
But we shouldn't let the possibility of permanent vision damage dull this otherwise festive occasion. I'm glad to see the city of McMinnville jump on board and prepare a local celebration of our own.
The approximate time the eclipse will strike McMinnville is said to be 1:32 p.m. With all the excitement, I figure the least I can do is buy a T-shirt.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.