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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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On August 21, 2017 at 1:18pm Perry County will experience a total solar eclipse giving locals some of the greatest viewing time across the United States at two minutes forty seconds of totality.

In anticipation of the Great American Eclipse of 2017 the City of Perryville has officially begun the daunting but extremely exciting task of planning for the astronomical event. Unlike many small rural communities in Missouri, Perryville has a unique front row seat to possibly the greatest solar eclipse the United States has or ever will see. But with that amazing view comes many decisions to make concerning the great influx of people that will also want to witness this spectacular natural event. With a city population of 8,225 and a county population totaling 18,971, Perryville will be ready to greet their astronomy fans and solar eclipse chasers possibly doubling their county’s population in one day.

Perryville’s Municipal Airport’s located near the banks of the mighty Mississippi River is directly aligned with the eclipse’s center path of totality giving lookers the maximum time of two minutes and 40 seconds! Boasting a 7,000ft. X 100ft. runway it is sure to attract many astronomers and eclipse enthusiasts from around the nation.

Perry County’s Eclipse Taskforce was assembled in November 2015 and has been strategizing on the best possible viewing locations, parking areas, shuttle routes, camping sites and various weekend entertainment leading up to the main eclipse event. This unique taskforce is made up of City and County officials, Economic Development Authorities, 911 Director, Park & Recreation Dept., Bois Brule Levee District, police, sheriff and fire departments, hospital, school district, health department, MoDot, Missouri Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation, regional and state authorities. These are the people, experts in their fields that will help us locate and organize great viewing sites, map the safest travel routes, provide community awareness, education and create an overall extraordinary experience for our local-residents and our solar eclipse hunters.

Starting back in August 2016 National Eclipse Taskforce member and Director of Astronomy for the University of Missouri, Angela Speck spoke during the back to school conference so that all our children could benefit the most out of this extraordinary educational experience.  We figured that by reaching and informing 500+ educators they will be better able to help as many as 3,500+ students ranging K-12 experience the Eclipse that day creating a moment in their lives they will never forget. We will also be keeping our area residents informed of our plans and events through the Perryville Chamber of Commerce website and our local radio station KSGM 980AM’s noon Focus program. This will be a series of radio interviews leading up to the eclipse event. And for our not-so-local solar eclipse visitors a Perry County Eclipse Facebook page and twitter account has been created so that they will be as informed as our residents about weekend events, happenings and eclipse specials.

As our taskforce continues to works diligently in the up-coming months developing the best possible eclipse experience for everyone know that as a singular event of national scale and with a global audience, this event will rival the moon landing of 1969 as a landmark event for a new generation! You’re not going to want to miss this!

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