McMinnville officials have approved Blackout 2017, a party in historic downtown McMinnville on Monday, Aug. 21 to celebrate the total solar eclipse.
McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to allow street closures around Court Square, slow/watch for pedestrian signs along the Main Street area, the use of electricity, the use of the grassy lot, and stage equipment.
Main Street McMinnville, McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department are collaborating on Blackout 2017: Great American Eclipse Party, a communitywide event that will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Court Square.
Eclipse viewers will enjoy a very special live music event with The Sound Machine spinning hits with a cosmic theme, live streaming of NASA coverage of the eclipse, and much more. Organizers intend for the event to celebrate astronomy and science of all types with astronomy-themed arts and crafts for kids and the Warren County School District’s STEM on Wheels trailer on site. Participating downtown merchants will feature an “After Dark” sale or novelty items in their stores.
Certified solar eclipse glasses will be available for all attendees to protect their eyes from the dangerous sun rays. Must-have, commemorative T-shirts will be available for pre-sale, with more information coming soon at the Main Street McMinnville website. Proceeds from the T-shirts support the event itself.
“Everyone is welcome to come down to Court Square and set up lawn chairs or grab a bench to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence,” said Main Street McMinnville executive director Katie Kemezis.
The Great American Eclipse, as it is being called nationally, is an extraordinary celestial event. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight and turning day into darkness.
On Aug. 21, from approximately 12 to 3 p.m., the moon will slowly move in between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun for one minute and 50 seconds. Only a thin swath of the United States will be able to see the moon completely cover the sun, and McMinnville is uniquely positioned to see all of this extremely rare event, with the full totality occurring at approximately 1:32 p.m.
Main Street is still seeking community partners to hold activities during the eclipse. If you have a particular interest in astronomy or science, your expertise on fun activities and information to share at the event would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Kemezis at 506-5335.
Organizers expressed gratitude for the generous support of the city of McMinnville and to downtown businesses and offices around Court Square for showing support despite its occurrence during business hours.