Excelsior Springs Gears Up for Another Solar Eclipse

As Excelsior Springs prepares for the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, April 8th, the community reflects on the remarkable experience of August 21, 2017, when the city found itself in the Path of Totality. That historic event not only brought together the residents in a shared celestial celebration but also attracted visitors far and wide, establishing Excelsior Springs as a prime location for experiencing the wonders of the cosmos.

The 2017 solar eclipse was a momentous occasion for Excelsior Springs, marked by educational events, community gatherings, and a festival that transformed the city’s historic district into a vibrant hub of activity. The clear skies following a timely cessation of rain allowed for unparalleled views of the eclipse, creating memories that still resonate with those who were there.

Leading Up to the Event

The historic Elms Hotel & Spa, a landmark of hospitality and elegance, was booked solid a year in advance, underscoring the event’s anticipated appeal. In the lead-up to the eclipse, the city was abuzz with educational events designed to enlighten citizens about the science and wonder of eclipses. Notably, Joseph S. Wright, a local resident and operations manager for the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Warkoczewski Observatory, delivered presentations that captivated audiences with astronomical insights.

The Excelsior Springs Museum and Archives hosted exhibitions that included replicas of Galileo’s telescopes and meteorite displays, further enriching the community’s understanding of this cosmic event. On the eve of the eclipse, Jackie Beucher, Vice President of the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, shared her expertise, adding to the anticipation.

The Big Event

Despite the challenge of rain leading up to the festival, the skies cleared miraculously as the eclipse began, allowing the gathered crowds to witness the totality in its full glory. The downtown area and the space in front of the Elms Hotel were filled with onlookers, their eyes skyward as NASA jets added to the spectacle.

Public Schools Watch the Eclipse

The community’s preparation included ensuring that every student and staff member in the Excelsior Springs School District received protective eyeglasses, thanks to a generous donation from CVS Pharmacy. This gesture enabled a shared educational experience that would be remembered for a lifetime.

Local Businesses Participate

Local businesses and organizations contributed significantly to the festival’s success. From the spirited performance by local band JD and the Chasers to the informative trolley rides offered by the Excelsior Springs Hospital, the event was a testament to the community’s hospitality.

After the Shadow

The festival not only celebrated the solar eclipse but also supported local education, with the sale of over 850 t-shirts raising funds for the Middle School’s art program. These shirts, featuring unique designs including a special postal service cancellation stamp and glow-in-the-dark ink, became keepsakes of an unforgettable day.

2024 Solar Eclipse Event

With the next solar eclipse on the horizon, Excelsior Springs is once again buzzing with anticipation. This year, local wineries are stepping into the spotlight, offering watch parties that promise to blend the allure of the eclipse with the charm of Missouri’s vineyards. Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, Shamrock Hills Vineyard and Winery, and Van Till Family Winery are preparing to host gatherings that will provide not just a view of the eclipse, but an experience enriched with local flavors.

Timeframe: 
According to KMBC 9 News, “In Kansas City specifically, spectators will start to see the moon cross in front of the sun at 12:38 p.m. CST. A near 50 percent coverage will be in place by 1:19 p.m. Kansas City’s full coverage of 89.8 percent will happen at 1:54 p.m., and the entire event will be over for Kansas City by 3:11 p.m.”

With the next solar eclipse on the horizon, Excelsior Springs is once again buzzing with anticipation. This year, local wineries are stepping into the spotlight, offering watch parties that promise to blend the allure of the eclipse with the charm of Missouri’s vineyards. Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, Shamrock Hills Vineyard and Winery, and VanTill Family Winery are preparing to host gatherings that will provide not just a view of the eclipse, but an experience enriched with local flavors.

Safely Watching

As we look forward to another celestial spectacle, it’s crucial to remember the importance of watching safely. For those without eclipse glasses, there are other creative ways to enjoy the event. One popular method is the pinhole projector, which can be easily made with just two pieces of cardboard or paper. By allowing sunlight to pass through a small hole in one piece and project onto the other, you can safely watch the eclipse’s progress without risking eye damage.

Another safe viewing method is using a solar filter on binoculars or telescopes, but it’s vital to ensure that the filter is specifically designed for solar viewing. For those who prefer to watch indirectly, streaming the eclipse online or on television is a safe and comfortable option.

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