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Downtown party eclipses expectations
Peter Korman takes a peek into a telescope Monday while he waits for the eclipse. He traveled from Huntsville, Ala., with his family.

The Blackout 2017 party cheered as the sun vanished Monday, casting darkness across historic downtown McMinnville.
Crowd estimates place the number of visitors at the downtown event between 2,000 and 5,000. They, as well as the rest of Warren County, were given an unobstructed view of The Great American Eclipse, from beginning to end, including totality.
“We are very pleased with Blackout 2017,” said Main Street McMinnville executive director Katie Kemezis. “Through community partnerships and a can-do spirit, our downtown was transformed into a giant viewing party where people could come enjoy the total solar eclipse together with family, friends and fellow eclipse-goers.”
The Pink Floyd Appreciation Society performed songs from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album.
“Their timing was perfect as they finished just as the totality was about to begin,” said Kemezis. “It was a powerful moment. The weather was perfect and the eclipse was breathtaking.”
Blackout 2017 shirts sold by Main Street McMinnville were gone before the sun vanished. However, orders are being taken for another printing. Place an order at Main Street McMinnville’s office in the Chamber of Commerce building by noon this Friday, Aug. 25.
“Surprisingly, we didn’t give out all of our solar glasses,” said Kemezis. “We had about 20 glasses left. We are grateful to Warren County Schools, Yorozu, and B&P Lighting for donating extra glasses to our event. Their support ensured everyone who needed glasses got them.”
Noodles were also scarce by the end of the event. Yaki Wiz made 600 pounds of noodles, which is enough to feed 1,500 people, and ran out with 10 minutes left. The local vendor offers Japanese and French cooking.
“I’ve been doing this for nearly 25 years,” said Yaki Wiz owner/operator Jeff Danberg. “I’ve never served that much in a four-hour span.”
The event attracted visitors from 23 states and five countries, including Australia.
According to Best Western Tree City Inn desk receptionist Shelia Wood on Monday, the hotel was completely booked Sunday night.
“It’s been very busy,” said Wood. “Yesterday (Sunday) was booked up for a couple of months.”
Mayor Jimmy Haley said the eclipse cast a favorable light on the city.
“This was a wonderful event that showcased all the things good about our city,” said Haley. “McMin-nville is a great place and we were pleased to host an event where people from around the world con-verged to see a once-in-a-lifetime event here, the total eclipse of the sun.”
Blackout 2017 was a production of Main Street McMinnville, McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and the city of McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department.
Haley expressed gratitude for the hard work done by everyone involved in pulling the event together.
“Shout-out to Main Street McMinnville, the Chamber, all our city employees, the media outlets and the vendors and downtown merchants who made the whole event a success,” said Haley. “Our volun-teers were amazing. Teamwork makes all things possible. Today proves that. It makes me proud to be the mayor of the best city in America.”
While total solar eclipses are not rare, they are for Warren County. The last one was more than 500 years ago and the next one is more than 500 years away.