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“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter."  -John Burroughs


Meet our Guest Blogger, Amber Odom:
Hey everyone!  I am an elementary teacher by day and a nature lover at heart. I love exploring new places in southeast Missouri, meeting new people, and being in the great outdoors! Come along with me as I explore those MO backroads adventures!

 

This is one of my favorite quotes and it is true for my family. Our family loves hiking in all months.  We try to get out in the winter as much as we do in the summer. In the winter you often see places in a new way. Without the leaves of summer, you find things you might have missed before. 


We visited a family favorite this past weekend when the temperatures were a glorious 60 degrees after our recent arctic blast. Ball Mill Resurgence Natural Area  is one of my son’s favorite places to explore. He could spend hours in the creek area. He loves walking the creek and following the many little waterfalls as the water trickles down the stone ledges. As we walked the creek this past weekend, we were happily surprised to see a frozen waterfall.  


While the creek is my son’s favorite part of the Ball Mill Resurgence area, I love the resurgence area. I love the creek bed with the smooth stones and the towering cliff that seems to appear out of nowhere.  It’s amazing to think about how the resurgence works. I hope to one day be able to see it in action.


As my daughter and husband came to the bottom of the hill and started walking in the creek bed towards the resurgence, I heard my daughter whisper “WOW! It’s beautiful.” As my family stood looking at this beautiful cliff face surrounded by the woods in awe, it struck me how beautiful this place is in any season. My son was just as in awe this past summer staring up at the cliff for his first time.   


I was struck by the way the sunlight peeked over the edge of the cliff, making the icicles hanging there glisten. It was mesmerizing! With the starkness and bareness of winter surrounding the cliff, it made the moss on the rock faces and the different colors of the rock seem more vibrant.   


I can easily say I don’t know which season I enjoy the most when visiting Ball Mill Resurgence Natural Area. I have yet to see it in the fall, so maybe after making a trip to see it in all the fall splendor I can finally say. But I think I am going to find that I love it in all seasons!    


I encourage you to get out there during this winter season. You never know what you might see and what might catch your eye as you are enjoying nature on a lovely winter’s day. So get out and enjoy some MO backroads adventures!

 

Stay Connected with Amber!

Instagram Page: @mobackroadadventures

Facebook Page: @MObackroadadventures

 

Check back for more from Amber and her family's Missouri (Perry County) Back Road Adventures.




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Hadler Shoe Tree

I threw my first pair of shoes in 2015. Years of shoes were already there. I had written with permanent marker on an old pair of sneakers “Tourism 2015”. Before I threw them, I may have said a little prayer to be able to “fill the shoes” of being named Perry County’s first official tourism director. I may have also made a wish that I could share more of what makes Perry County so unique and special.

As I tossed, slung and threw that old pair of shoes over and over I quickly realized that this was not as easy as it looks. But throw after throw we smiled, giggled and laughed out loud at our pointless efforts to sling a pair of old shoes into a tree alongside a country gravel road.

Up until recently, area locals had just referred to it as “The Shoe Tree” and what was the significance, the purpose behind this odd collection? Well, not every action has to start out with a purpose or meaning does it? But sometimes when you have all the right “things” it just happens, and a tradition is born. I’m sure Willard Hadler had no intension of creating a tradition with his family when they slung their first pair. Willard and Glenda had seen another shoe tree on vacation out “west” years ago and thought it looked like something fun to do and they were right!

Over the years some key throwing techniques have emerged from repeat visitors honing their skills.

·         Slinging by shoestrings

·         The backwards throw

·         Boomerang method

·         Or the wind-up

The next time you are at the Shoe Tree take a minute to thinks about these “things”:

·         Appreciate the natural landscape of rural Perry County.

·         Take a deep breath of clean country air, most of the time we take that for granted.

·         Say a prayer, make a wish or just release some stress as you catapult your old soles. You make the reason or don’t need a reason at all to do this.

·         Remember the shoes are as different as the personalities of the people who have thrown them up there.

·         It’s pure fun for all ages.

·         Guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Laughter is always good for the world.

·         Take family or friends. It’s a perfect time to create a fun memory.

·         And celebrate your victory when you snag a branch!

The shoe tree is open 365 days a year but the Hadler family is hoping to create an annual day event for shoe slinging in January. Check out our explore page and calendar for upcoming dates.

 Photo credit: Nature's Passion Photography by Jackie Johnson

Republic Monitor Newspaper Article, link here.

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The greatest need of Perry County, when it was created from the Ste. Genevieve District in 1821 was a courthouse. Although there were a few small areas where groups of people lived, there were no towns in the county where a courthouse could be built.

Bernard Layton gave the county 51 acres of his 640-acre Spanish Land Grant for that purpose. The land was to be laid out in lots and sold to raise money to build the first Perry County Courthouse.

In the meantime, the Perry County Court met four times a year in the home of Bede Moore, a two-story log building about 1 ½ miles north of Perryville to conduct county business.

In 1825, a contract was made for the first courthouse. Funding for the $1,486.25 project came from the sale of 55 lots from the property deeded to the county by Layton.

It was 1826 before the first courthouse was ready to use on the square. No pictures or sketches of the white two-storied frame building with green shutters and a Spanish brown roof with cupola sitting on top have survived. Thomas Hayden contracted to build this courthouse on the northeast corner of the square, completed in 1826.

By 1859, the first courthouse had been outgrown and, in that year, the second Courthouse was built just west of the first one. This building was in the center of the north side of the square and was a two-storied Federal style brick building built for $8,000. John R. Layton superintended the construction and it was completed in 1861. This building continued in use until after the turn of the century when grand jury reports indicated the condition of the building was beyond repair.

In 1903, county residents presented a petition calling for an election and supported a proposition for a $30,000 bond issue to finance a new courthouse. From several plans submitted the Court selected a proposal from J.W. Gaddis of Vincennes, Indiana.

Caldwell and Drake from Columbus, Indiana contracted for construction in January 1904 and work began in February. The laying of the cornerstone ceremony was on June 4, 1904. The celebration included a parade, speeches, music and the largest crowd, ever assembled in Perry County to watch as a huge block of stone was placed in its bed of mortar where it has remained for generations.

With elements of Federal, Romanesque, Gothic and Classical styles the courthouse was completed on November 17, 1904 when Gaddis officially handed over the keys to the governing body. Total cost of the red brick, 65-by-92-foot building was $32,762.98.

A deep well was sunk for water on the property and other modern amenity were included such as a boiler system for heat and a tile sewer for plumbing.

In February of 1905 wrecking and removing the old courthouse began along with sale of old furniture.

In 2015 the courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the citizens of Perry County voted to support a tax for maintenance. In 2017 the courthouse underwent a major renovation to repair and preserve its original beauty and significance to the history of Perry County.

Over the last one hundred years the present-day courthouse has conducted the county and state business dealing with land records, birth and death records, court proceedings, laws, elections, county maintenance and many other daily activities. It has been modernized with many new inventions such as telephones, electric, indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning systems and an elevator.

Would you like to schedule a group tour? We do that! Right here in downtown Perryville, Missouri.

Contact Information:
Trish Erzfeld, Tourism Director
2 W. Ste Maries Street
Perryville, MO 63775
573-517-2069 (c)
trish@perryvillmo.com

Download Full Brochure 

After you play, you can find somewhere to eat! And maybe even stay.

Link to Restaurants

Link to Hotels 

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Year End Review: 2018

We have been working so hard, we wanted to share some really big accomplishments for the Perry County Tourism office during 2018. We wanted to make it short and sweet… but let’s face it the list is LONG! Check them out!

  • Earned two awards from the Missouri Department of Tourism!
    • Innovator Award :: awarded to Perry County Heritage Tourism by the Missouri Division of Tourism at the 2018 Governor's Conference on Tourism. Perryville and Perry County's efforts during the Great American Eclipse were recognized with this year's Innovator award. What a great way to celebrate Perryville and Perry County's significance on this event and the impact we have made locally and around the world.
    • Rising Star Award :: awarded to Trish Erzfeld, Perry County Tourism Director by the Missouri Division of Tourism at the 2018 Governor's Conference on Tourism
  • Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Graduate: Our Tourism Director, Trish Erzfeld participated and graduated from The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) ‘s Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy. LINK: https://www.semissourian.com/story/2541489.html
  • Worked with local, state and regional newspaper/magazine sources to showcase the events, programs and projects going in and around Perryville and Perry County, Missouri. This includes the following publications: Southeast Missourian, 573 Magazine and Missouri Life
  • Created and implemented the Perry County Barn Quilt Trail with the help of local volunteers and artists throughout Perry, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau Counties. This trail brings families and individuals to our region to view barn quilts and enjoy the hospitality of Perryville and all of Perry County. This also includes a brand new printed brochure, after securing financial assistance from the Missouri Humanities Council.
  • Lead the marketing efforts for the 14th Annual Christmas Country Church Tour, bringing in thousands of steeple chasers from all over Southeast Missouri, the state of Missouri and the Midwest Region. This highly visible and attended event brings tourism tax dollars to the county each year.
  • Supported and promoted the Smithsonian Exhibit: Hometown Teams, hosted by the Perry County Historical Society bringing together the community and visitors from the region.
  • Promoted local activities to the Perryville Soccer fall tournament attendees from neighboring communities throughout Southeast Missouri.
  • Supported and attended the International History Conference in Altenburg, Missouri. Each year the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum hosts a multi-day conference for individuals all over the world, particularly the country of Germany. By supporting this conference, we are promoting our hotels, restaurants, shopping and natural areas to attendees.
  • A partnership was built and executed with the City of Perryville and the regional 573 magazine publication. This has resulted in six promotional ads a year highlighting events in our community, to highlighting all things great about Perryville and Perry County with the execution of the “We Love Perryville” campaign.
  • Produced a Hiking Brochure featuring the best natural hiking opportunities in Perry County.
  • Produced a new tri-fold brochure promoting the Perry County Courthouse, its history and the new on-site walking tours.
  • Created and printed a brand new map of Perry County, and all it has to offer. This includes restaurants, retail shops, breweries, wineries, natural areas, and the eight local cultural sites.
  • Partnered with the Saxon Lutheran Memorial board and Missouri Humanities Council to showcase the memorial grounds with a brochure featuring all buildings on the property and their events. This will be used in conjunction with new bus tours to the area.
  • Created and promoted NINE aspects of Perryville and Perry County through paper printed profile sheets/guides: Discover Perry County, Airport Fly-Ins, Path 2 Promiseland, Faith 2 Freedom Tour, Agritainment, BOTS, Old Timer’s Day, Missouri’s National Vietnam Memorial, Christmas Country Church Tour, Motorcycle Guide
  • Partnered with local photographer to create, print and promote Perry County Postcards for guests and even locals!
  • Lead the efforts and promotions for the following projects in Perryville and Perry County:
    • Rainbow Trout at Legion Lake
    • Shawnee Indian Dig Sites (2)
    • German Inventory
    • Tourism Study
    • Malone Clan Expeditions, Travels with Germans/Americans
    • Dr. Carolyn Show
  • Supported the following events/projects by speaking at the events:
    • Missouri Community Betterment Presentations
    • Carterville Chamber of Commerce: EDA Community Retreat (Carterville, IL)

For more information, contact Perry County Heritage Tourism Director, Trish Erzfeld at 573-517-2069 or trish@perryvillemo.com. 


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Perry County Courthouse

The greatest need of Perry County, when it was created from the Ste. Genevieve District in 1821 was a courthouse. Although there were a few small areas where groups of people lived, there were no towns in the county where a courthouse could be built.

Bernard Layton gave the county 51 acres of his 640-acre Spanish Land Grant for that purpose. The land was to be laid out in lots and sold to raise money to build the first Perry County Courthouse. 

In the meantime, the Perry County Court met four times a year in the home of Bede Moore, a two-story log building about one and a half miles north of Perryville to conduct county business. 

In 1825, a contract was made for the first courthouse. Funding for the $1,486.25 project came from the sale of 55 lots from the property deeded to the county by Layton.

It was 1826 before the first courthouse was ready to use on the square. No pictures or sketches of the white two-storied frame building with green shutters and a Spanish brown roof with cupola sitting on top have survived. Thomas Hayden contracted to build this courthouse on the northeast corner of the square and completed it in 1826.

By 1859 the first courthouse had been outgrown and, in that year, the second Courthouse was built just west of the first one. This building was in the center of the north side of the square and was a two-storied Federal style brick building built for $8,000. John R. Layton superintended the construction and it was completed in 1861. This building continued in use until after the turn of the century when grand jury reports indicated the condition of the building was beyond repair.

In 1903 county residents presented a petition calling for an election and supported a proposition for a $30,000 bond issue to finance a new courthouse. From several plans submitted the Court selected a proposal from J.W. Gaddis of Vincennes, Indiana.

Caldwell and Drake from Columbus, Indiana contracted for construction in January 1904 and work began in February. The laying of the cornerstone ceremony was on June 4, 1904. The celebration included a parade, speeches, music and the largest crowd, ever assembled in Perry County  to watch as a huge block of stone was place in its bed of mortar where it has remained for generations. With elements of Federal, Romanesque, Gothic and Classical styles the courthouse was completed on November 17, 1904 when Gaddis officially handed over the keys to the governing body. Total cost of the red brick, 65-by-92-foot building was $32,762.98.

A deep well was sunk for water on the property and other modern amenities were included such as a boiler system for heat and a tile sewer for plumbing.

In February of 1905 wrecking and removing the old courthouse began along with the sale of old furniture. 

In 2015 the courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the citizens of Perry County voted to support a tax for its upkeep. In 2017 the courthouse underwent a major renovation to repair and preserve its original beauty and significance to the history of Perry County. 

Over the last one hundred years the present-day courthouse has conducted the county and state business dealing with land records, birth and death records, court proceedings, laws, elections, county maintenance and many other daily activities. It has been modernized with many new inventions such as telephones, electric, indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems and an elevator. 

Over the years the Perry County Health Department, Perry County's 911 Department, Probation Office, Coroner, Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff, County Commission, County Clerk, County Treasurer, County Collector, Circuit Clerk, Circuit Court, Recorder of Deeds and County Assessor have held office within its walls. Over the last one hundred years we too have grown and expanded our county offices. Today only the Circuit Clerk, Circuit Court, Recorder of Deeds, Juvenile Office and County Administrator are housed there. 

Group tours of the Perry County Courthouse are available by appointment. Please contact Trish Erzfeld, Director of the Perry County Heritage Tourism. 

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Concordia Lutheran Church of Frohna, Missouri built the Little School in 1898. It was a day school where the children of the parish were taught "reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic" as well as religion. For the most part, children in the primary grades were taught in this building. 

Prior to the construction of this school, a number of other buildings were used by the congregation. One of these was the log cabin dwelling on the Bergt farm which is now a part of the Saxon Lutheran Memorial located just a short distance north and east of the Little School on Saxon Memorial Drive. The Rev. Christian H. Loeber taught school in this log cabin in 1850 and 1851. This building is one of the oldest existing buildings used as a parish day school in the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

From 1851-1854 the parsonage was used for school purposes. This home occupied the site where the "Wukasch Teacherage" was built at a later date. Records indicate that the old log church located on the present cemetery was used after 1854. The old rock church (near the old log church) became the school when the present church building was constructed in 1874. Enrollment had increased to 90 pupils. To accommodate such a large enrollment, the old log church was repaired and both buildings were now used for school purposes. It was at this time that Matthias Wukasch and Henry Welp were the teachers. It is interesting to note that both of these teachers served the congregation for 50 years. Also worthy of note is the date of 1883 when the English language was added as a subject in the curriculum. 

In time the log church became too small and so the Big School (Die Grosse Schule) was erected in 1889 and was dedicated in July of 1890. About a decade later the old rock church showed signs of deterioration. The Little School was built to replace it in 1898. By now the enrollment had reached a record high of 133 pupils. 

The Big School was razed in 1969 to make room for parking space. At this time the present school building was also constructed. It was dedicated on 24 August 1969. After the new modern school was built, many people felt that the Little School should be torn down since it was no longer being used. About ten families were convinced that the school should be preserved as memorial to Christian Education. These families formed the Concordia Historical Society in Frohna after which the petitioned the congregation for permission to renovate the building and assume the responsibility for its upkeep. Permission was granted and the Little School was dedicated as a museum on 7 August 1977. Since that time the society has engaged in further restoration of the building to its original décor. 

The Little School is open for tours by appointment. Contact Trish Erzfeld, Director of the Perry County Heritage Tourism.

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Maybe this Christmas add a little family nostalgia to the menu by fixing a special holiday dish of Grandma's or of your heritage with perhaps a German or French themed dish. Lay out the old family album for family members to thumb through after the meal. Hang up live mistletoe to see who will go through special efforts to avoid it. Decorate your tree with old ornaments, tinsel, hand cut sugar cookies or stringed popcorn and cranberries.

Or maybe suggest a traditional outing. The Christmas Country Church Tour is a wonderful self-guided tour of thirty-two uniquely beautiful country churches in Bollinger county, northern Cape Girardeau county and Perry county. In its 13th holiday season the Christmas Country Church Tour has grown beyond the county lines of Perry County, Missouri. From little one-room white clad buildings to brick and mortar masterpieces see these century old structures each of them adorned in the spirit of Christmas. From German Lutherans, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians to German Catholic, Baptist and Methodist. Hear the choirs, listen to the music, learn the history of how these churches started generations ago with nothing more than the determination and faith of the people who immigrated here and built them. Slow down from the holiday hustle and bustle, get back to the real meaning of the season, sample one or all of the homemade cookies and enjoy the down home hospitality of those you will meet along the way as you travel from one community and country church to the other. Describe by some as a holiday treasure hunt consider making it your next tradition.

Christmas Country Church Tour December 14 & 15, 20107 2pm-9pm    

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Recently, several Perry County Historical Society members have been asking about Friedenberg Cemetery in Perry County, Missouri which inspired the director of our Genealogical Research Library and Archive Center, to pursue reprinting Chapter 11 - Peace Lutheran Cemetery - cemetery plat and lists from an out of print Friedenberg book.  The Perry County Historical Society has been granted copyright permission from Rev. Dr. Daniel Harmelink, Executive Director of Concordia Historical Institute, to reproduce portions of the book "Friedenberg Remembrances:  A Story of Peace, Faith and Life" by Friedenberg Lutheran Historical Society Book Committee, Copyright 1998 by Martin P. Oswald.

If you are of Bavarian German Lutheran descent from Perry County, Missouri, you are likely related to this group that created the Friedenberg Peace Lutheran Church.  Records have been found dating back to 1862-1863 which contain the following list of surnames composing the membership: Amschler, Angermann, Bergmann, Boxdorfer, Dippold, Fassold, Funke, Hallenberger, Hermann, Hoehn, Kleyla, Klobe, Knoll, Kropf, Lang, Lintner, Muench, Ochs, Popp, Rauh, Rothewald, Sandler, Schade, Schaupert, Schrumpf, Schuetz, Springer, Stuebinger, Taeuber, Uebel, Weinrich, Weith and Wirth.

Initially, the families that started arriving in 1838 worshipped most frequently in the home of Ferdinand Bergmann (3 Mar 1803 – 26 Nov 1853) on the north side of Cinque Hommes Creek. This group of Germans pre-dates the Saxon Lutherans who arrived in the Altenburg area around 1839. The congregation of 13 voting members organized as Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in September 1844 with Reverend E. O. Wolff as resident pastor.  

It soon grew too crowded in the Bergmann home and in 1846, the small group built a log cabin church, also on the north side of Cinque Homme Creek, about one mile North of P Road and just east of present day Highway 61.  As you drive by today, you can see a peaceful valley of crops with a large metal building with a green roof in the distance.  You can just imagine, 170 years ago a log cabin church sitting on the bank of Cinque Hommes Creek somewhere on the far edge of that field.

Soon it was necessary to build a larger log cabin church.  In 1852, they moved to the location of the cemetery under a cedar tree on the south side of Cinque Homme Creek on the Frankenberg Hill.  Across the road, they built a parsonage and a school.  For 33 years, from 1852 to 1885, the congregation worshipped in the log church on the Frankenberg Hill overlooking Cinque Hommes bottom. Peace Lutheran Cemetery is still located at this site near the intersection of Highway 61 and P Road and is maintained by an endowment to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Perryville, Missouri.

Eventually the congregation outgrew this church, and a new site was chosen to the southeast on another hill.  They named their new location Friedenberg (Hill of Peace) and their church Peace Lutheran Church.  A one room school and a parsonage were built first in 1874 across the road from the future church site.  School was taught in this red brick school house for over 70 years until 1946.  After 1946, the school was used for Saturday school where religion was taught, for dart games and Sunday School.  The names and initials of school children can still be seen etched into the soft brick. 

There was a disastrous parsonage fire in 1942 and many valuable records were lost.  The pastor and his children lived in the one room schoolhouse (while school was still in session!) until a new parsonage could be erected.  In 1975, the school and parsonage were sold and still stands today on the property of Dale and Sandy Koenig.  The Peace Lutheran School building is over 140 years old! 

In 1885, the congregation moved from the Frankenberg Hill, to Friedenberg and built the present simple, red-brick worship facility overlooking the quiet Missouri countryside.  The new church was dedicated debt-free on 27 September 1885.  This church served the congregation for the next 95 years! 

As the social and economic climate of the area changed, membership began to decline. In 1980, Peace Congregation voted to disband. The people resolved to preserve their buildings as a reminder of the heritage of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and asked Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) located at 804 Seminary Place in St. Louis to take over the property.  Concordia Historical Institute is the Department of Archives and History of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The Institute continues to own, operate and support “Hill of Peace” as a "walk-in history book" that vividly demonstrates the change in the life of the rural church that was so important in previous eras.  

The facilities, the people, and the "peace" still live on in Friedenberg through the continued efforts of the Friedenberg Historical Society 501(c)(3).  The small group of members continue to maintain the church and grounds for generations to enjoy for years to come.  Anyone interested in joining the Friedenberg Historical Society or donating time or money for the continued support of the historic “Hill of Peace” and our ancestor’s history, please contact Sandy Koenig at earlybird4848@yahoo.com.

The original Ladies Aid house, called Friedenberg Hall, was dedicated in September 1935 and burned to the ground in 2012. The current Friedenberg Hall was erected in 2014 and is available for rental across the road from the church.  Whether it is a church retreat, business meeting, wedding reception or anniversary, a baptism or confirmation reception, Friedenberg Hall provides a clean, modern facility within a quiet and historic location.  Friedenberg Hall is perfect for a family reunion or birthday party and provides a full service kitchen/serving area and handicap-accessible bathrooms.  The Hall can accommodate up to 90 people and is only 5 miles from Perryville and less than one and a half miles from Highway 61. To reserve your special day at Friedenberg Hall, please call Anna at 573-517-0102 or Dale at 573-768-1240.  Rental Fee—$100/day.  Refundable Deposit—$50.

Three annual Church Services are held each year at Friedenberg Peace Lutheran Church typically at 3:00 pm on the 2nd Sunday in March, October and December to celebrate and serve as a reunion of descendants.  Please consider attending the Fall Service at 3:00pm on Sunday, October 9, 2016 at Friedenberg Peace Lutheran Church at 510 PCR 304 Perryville, MO  63775. 

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Tips for Totality

With less than two months to go before the Great American Eclipse comes streaming across our blue Missouri sky the excitement is building beyond anything we could have anticipated. This eclipse will be the most viewed and most highly publicized eclipse ever in history. And with that I am here to tell you that on eclipse day you may or may not have adequate cell service. This is the first total solar eclipse traveling across the United States in such a way that thousands can reach the totality path. And with every excited eclipse enthusiasts comes the ability to document their once-in-a-lifetime experience and the desire to share it with their family a far or friends back home. So, with thousands of additional phone calls, face timing, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagram posts, Snap Chatting and live streaming, etc. it would be naive of any of us to assume our local cell towers will be able to meet the demand of usage.

Also, consider planning for the eclipse much as you would during a forecasted winter snow storm. That might be a really ‘cool’ thought to have in August when we will probably be in the 90-degree range! So, think ahead. Go get your groceries early in the week. Make sure you get sunscreen, drinks and your eclipse glasses. You may have extra family or friends traveling to come stay with you please don’t forget to get them glasses as well. You cannot view the entire eclipse without solar eclipse glasses only the totality phase! Stop by the gas station and fill up your vehicle to avoid the crowds in the upcoming weekend and run any necessary errands you need to. Consider scheduling routine appointments either before or after eclipse weekend and when you do venture out to enjoy one or more of our many fun-filled events planned for the weekend just allow yourself a little extra driving time.

For those experiencing the eclipse from your home you will be all set to go. Maybe you want to invite family or friends over to enjoy it with you. Experts will tell you that it is highly recommended and an amazing show to experience among others. For those who will be venturing out within the Perry County path, let it be known that we do expect heavy traffic. Especially, on Interstate 55 both north and south bound lanes, the Perryville Blvd. by-pass which travels by the Seminary Picnic Grove and Bank of Missouri Soccer Complex viewing sites, Highway 61 south through Brewer and coming up from the north in the vicinity of the Perryville City Park. Highway 51 from Perryville northeast to the Chester bridge will also have a high volume of traffic using it. In all areas, possible the Missouri Department of Transportation will have flashing caution signs slowing traffic down for the safety of all our eclipse viewers. Please be aware of pedestrian traffic and your surroundings at all times.

This is going to be an amazing experience. Just like the landing of the moon in 1969 was a momentous occasion for the baby boomers’ generation…the Great American Eclipse will be just as memorable for this generation.

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There is no doubt that The Great American Eclipse is an undeniable educational opportunity for our children here in Perry County and it is no surprise that other schools and parents with kids are planning and traveling to our area to experience the eclipse. I have learnt more about astronomy, read more about science and tried to understand more physics in the past two years of planning for this celestial event than I ever thought imaginable.

What we did realize was that as we looked around our community at our businesses and industries, was the need to educate, excite and inspire the next generation to be engaged in the fields of science and math. So, when the Perryville Chamber of Commerce decided that they would host the Perryville Solarfest sponsored by the Perry County Memorial Hospital we knew we wanted there to be the unique opportunity for our businesses, industries and professionals to be able to share the science or math behind their occupation, product or business. From medical to mechanical and from organisms to outer space science surrounds us every day. Some are obvious, some are not and some we just take for granted. If your company is science based or has a key component using science then I would strongly encourage you to consider signing up for a Perryville Solarfest booth and share what cool science or technology is happening here in the Heartland.

Other fun and exciting things will be the chance for you to experience what it is like to take a spin on a zero-gravity chair just like the ones used at Space Camp brought to us by the Republic-Monitor. We all know what a sundial is but with the help of the American Sundial Association we will learn how to read our newly unveiled courthouse sundial commemorating The Great American Eclipse. The Dark Sky Mobile Planetarium will be coming into town thanks to Coldwell Banker & Professional Associates. They will help us locate stars and planets in our summer Missouri sky during a forty-five-minute planetary show and tips on how to find them from your own Heartland backyards.

You will be able create sand sculptures, learn about solar power or pan for gold among many other things in the name of science. There will also be for the first time in Perryville an amazing 573 Chalk Art Festival. Come and watch as chalk artists design and create science inspired pieces of art on our downtown city street transforming it from a busy roadway into multiple magical concrete canvases.

As we continue to plan and prepare for eclipse day you can currently purchase your total solar eclipse glasses for two dollars at the Perryville Area Chamber of Commerce, Perry Park Center or Village Video between now and eclipse day while supplies last so don’t delay.

While the weekend will be buzzing with total solar eclipse conversations, anticipation, and excitement let us take this time and use this weekend to celebrate all thing wonderful, weird and wonderous. Because after all, science makes the world go around...literally.

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