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Plans set for solar eclipse

Xavier Smith • May 24, 2017 at 1:16 PM

Plans are set in Lebanon and Mt. Juliet surrounding a solar eclipse that will bring nighttime during the day for about two minutes in August.

NASA ambassador Theo Wellington addressed the solar eclipse with the Wilson County Commission earlier this year and said in August, the state will see its first total solar eclipse since 1869.

“I use to qualify it and call it the biggest astronomical event. I don’t do that anymore. This is going to be the biggest public one-day event ever in U.S. history,” Wellington said.

The Wilson County Fair will celebrate the occasion, with the total solar eclipse expected to start at 1:28 p.m. during the only Monday of the fair.

About 10,000 solar eclipse glasses will be provided when admission gates open at 10 a.m. as long as supplies lasts. The carnival will offer the “Best Seats in the House” for anyone that would like to ride the Ferris Wheel during the solar eclipse.

An emcee will direct the activities and information about the eclipse, directing everyone when it will be safe to take off their glasses.

Interested individuals must sign up with their mobile number to receive the winning call.

For more information, visit wilsoncountyfair.net or call 615-443-2626.

Mt. Juliet will hold a solar eclipse event at Charlie Daniels Park from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

There will be activities for the whole family, which will include special music, food trucks, vendors, field day fun, as well as all the activities that the park normally has offer. The community will then come together to share in the once-in-a-lifetime event.

The event will be free, but eclipse survival kits will be on sale that will include viewing glasses, “I survived the Mt Juliet Eclipse” T-shirts and more.

All proceeds will go to Friends of Mt. Juliet Parks and Greenways. 

Wellington said the eclipse is not a “science geeky” occurrence and would challenge people’s senses and could cause emotional reactions for some people.

“To see the sun go out in the middle of the day is something your brain knows doesn’t happen, so it hits you at a very human level. People cry. They shout. They go silent and speechless,” she said.

Wellington said half of the U.S. population is within a one day’s drive to the total solar eclipse path, which means areas along the path, such as Wilson County, will experience an influx of visitors.

Wellington said the total eclipse path is important, because it’s the path in which a total eclipse is visible. Other areas will only experience a partial eclipse, which doesn’t bring darkness.

“It’s a nationwide event. Everybody will see part of the sun covered up that day, but only those in the 70-mile wide path get to see the total eclipse,” said Wellington, who said the eclipse causes a night and day difference.

“You guys are snugged up right next to the very center of the path,” she said.

Wellington said the maximum amount of time the total eclipse can be viewed is two minutes and 40 seconds.

“The Wilson County [Fairgrounds] is only two seconds off the longest time,” she said.

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