“Awesome.” “Breathtaking.” “Bombdiggity.”
Those are just a few of the words eclipse watchers used to describe their experience during the Great American Solar Eclipse Monday.
At Pitts Park in Clarkesville, a large crowd turned out to watch as the sun disappeared behind the moon’s shadow. It was an awe-inspiring sight made all the more special by the sense of community and excitement that filled the air.
Eager eclipse watchers began filing into the park during the early morning hours and by 12:30 p.m. the park was swarming with people of all ages, waiting for the big moment to unfold.
Free eclipse glasses were handed out beginning at noon. Families pitched tents, put up chairs and gathered ’round for picnics. There were bounce houses, a playground and art tent for the kids to enjoy.
Singer/musician Brian Buffington and 2017 Grammy Nominated pianist/composer John Burke performed live and local DJ, Clay Christy, kept the beat alive in between performances and stage announcements.
Now Habersham weather forecaster Tyler Penland – who’s also an astronomer – gave the event perspective through remarks designed to inform and prepare the crowd for what they would see during the different stages of the eclipse.
Visitors from up north
Organizers of the event, including Now Habersham, were extremely pleased with the turnout and response to the family-friendly, community-wide event.
After totality, the park began clearing out; with many of the event goers attempting to beat the traffic home.
One trio of visitors flew into Georgia from out of state Monday specifically for the eclipse. They chose Habersham County because it was the first stop on US 441/GA 365 in the path of totality. They made their way to Clarkesville after researching eclipse events online. They headed back to Atlanta in their rental car after the viewing party and were scheduled to fly home to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania later that night.
After weeks of rain, Monday offered perfect weather for eclipse viewing in Habersham. It was hot, sunny, and clear. The eclipse began just after 1 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m. The sun was completely blocked from view briefly beginning at 2:36 p.m.
Cheers erupted in Pitts Park as totality hit right after the closing strains of Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” The song was the inspiration for the event name.
Total Eclipse of the Park was presented by the City of Clarkesville, Clarkesville Main Street, the Habersham Chamber of Commerce and nowhabersham.com. It was made possible by the generous support of Southern Bank & Trust, Piedmont College, The Carr Law Group, North Georgia Technical College and Norton Realty. Burger King of Cornelia sponsored feature artist, John Burke. Other local businesses that contributed to making Monday’s event a success include Artfull Barn of Clarkesville, Springer Mountain Farms, King Vision Care and Brickhouse DJ.