By Shelby Miller, Correspondent
August 21 saw the first solar eclipse in the contiguous United States since 1979 and hundreds of Beltonians got to view it, thanks to the Lena Armstrong Library and Heritage Park. The eclipse party started at 11 a.m. and attendees enjoyed a hot dog picnic while they waited for the eclipse to begin.
“It’s supposed to start at 11:30 and last about an hour and a half,” says Director Kim Kroll. “We have been getting calls about this all week long.”
Lions Pavilion was packed and the field was covered in blankets. Parents took the time to educate the kids about the science of the whole event while they helped them look through their Solar Safety Glasses.
“This is one of our bigger successful events,” says Sarah Maddaford, a volunteer at the library. “We had about 400 hot dogs and we ended up running out.”
Young attendees also got a fun lesson about the solar eclipse using soccer balls out in the field.
“We received a grant from NASA for 800 glasses,” explained Maddaford. “All we had to do was educate on the science of the event. We held our first class about three weeks ago at the Library and today the boss gave a lesson using the soccer balls.”
Guests were not just from Belton, some came as far as Georgetown to participate in the activities.
“I like how the moon is black and not white,” says Ava Fuhr as she talks to her mom who said they made the drive up from Georgetown that morning.
Around noon the crowd began to roar and people started stepping out of the pavilion as it became obvious that the eclipse had begun. Shortly before maximum coverage at 1:17pm, they put on the song ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ which really got the crowd cheering.
“This was pretty exciting,” said Alex and Natalie hill.
The next solar eclipse over the United States will be in 2024. After that? 2045. Then 2052, 2078, and, if you’re truly blessed with longevity, a great one over Maine in 2079.