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When, Where, and Why to Watch The 2017 Great Solar Eclipse

Beginning at 1:27pm on August 21st, Nashville as we know it will change for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. A bright, late-summer midday will become a startling beautiful twilight. And of all the towns in all the counties in all of middle Tennessee, the best vantage point for watching this once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse event belongs to mine!

Nashvillians may not be familiar with the northern Sumner County community of Gallatin (located just north of the very popular Hendersonville area). But tourists from around the world will travel to Triple Creek Park and Bledsoe Creek State Park this August when a total solar eclipse occurs directly over our town. It’s a random claim to fame, but we’ll take it.

So what in the world is all the fuss about?

Basically, the moon will cover the sun for well over 2 minutes. And Nashville is the largest city wholly within the path of totality for this eclipse. Most of the country will simply witness a partial eclipse, which is what Tennesseans would mostly commonly associate with an eclipse. Middle Tennessee hasn’t experienced a total eclipse since 1478—and another isn’t expected for 549 years.

Lest I undersell this, please know we are not talking about a simply blank space in the sky where the sun is supposed to be. When the moon covers the sun in totality, the sun’s outer atmosphere (called the corona) becomes visible. Those who have seen the corona describe it as ribbons of light dancing across the sky. Viewers call it both beautiful and surreal.

So get out your safety glasses, Nashville, because this is a one-time deal for all of us mere mortals.

And on that note? YES. You do need safety glasses. (Be sure that yours meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products.)

If you’re thinking this sounds like the perfect reason to have a party, you are TOTALLY RIGHT!

Nashville will be celebrating this special time with various events around the city. Here are a few family-friendly ones that may interest you:

ADVENTURE SCIENCE CENTER

The Music City Solar Eclipse Festival at the Adventure Science Center features two days jam-packed with explorations into science and technology, fun activities and games with local organizations, live music from local musicians, chances to win great prizes, and awesome local food trucks. The Viewing Party caps off the fun with a chance to experience the total solar eclipse at Nashville’s premier science center. Outdoor festival activities? FREE. Indoor festival tickets? $101.40 for 2 adults and 2 youth, or $49 per adult/teen and $29 per youth. Kids under 2 are free.

ANDREW JACKSON’S HERMITAGE

The Hermitage is hosting a free Solar Eclipse Tailgate on the grounds of The Hermitage. Guests are invited to pack their vehicles and park in the fields in front of The Hermitage’s entrance gate, which will be prime viewing spots for this celestial event. The first 2,000 guests will get a free pair of Solar Eclipse Glasses, courtesy of Deloitte. IA child’s play area will be set up including historical games, science activities, and a craft table to make their own solar eclipse glasses.

BLEDSOE CREEK STATE PARK

Bledsoe Creek State Park invites you to a free 2017 Solar Eclipse Picnic. The park will open at 9AM. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy music by the “Dead Broke” ensemble, a local bluegrass group. There will also be various displays available that will explain this “once in a lifetime” experience. Space is limited, so arrive early. Registration is not required, but it will help make sure enough protective glasses are available.

CEDARS OF LEBANON STATE PARK

Come to Cedars of Lebanon State Park for this once in a lifetime experience of viewing the total solar eclipse! The pool will be open, and the park will have great live music and fun eclipse activities taking place. The charge for swimming is $5.00 at the gate, but general admission to the park is free. Registration is snot required, but it will help make sure enough protective glasses are available. Music will start at the swimming pool stage at 11:00AM.

CHEEKWOOD ESTATE AND GARDENS

Cheekwood is hosting a viewing party for the solar eclipse set to sweep the nation on Monday, August 21. Typically closed to the public on Mondays, Cheekwood will open its doors with half-priced admission from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., which will feature live music, food trucks, cash bars and protective eyewear for the viewing.

GALLATIN ECLIPSE ENCOUNTER

Kimberley Locke headlines the festival atmosphere of The Gallatin TN Eclipse Encounter held at Triple Creek Park in Gallatin! The day begins at 9am with a yoga session taught by Romy Kirby, followed by hours of music, food trucks, marketplace vendors, and a kids’ zone leading up to the total eclipse at 1:27pm. This event is free and open to the public. Safety glasses will be provided to participants (quantities limited). Registration is not required, but it will help make sure enough protective glasses are available.

GENERAL JACKSON SHOWBOAT

Experience the eclipse Music City style while cruising the Cumberland River on board the General Jackson Showboat. Boarding at 11:15 am, departure 12 noon, return 2:30pm. Lunch and Broadway style show tickets available as well. Tickets begin at $30 for children ages 4 – 11 and $45 for adults and youth age 12 and up.

GET ECLIPSED IN GOODLETTSVILLE

The City of Goodlettsville and the Goodlettsville Area Chamber of Commerce are joining together to hold the Get Eclipsed in Goodlettsville event on Monday, August 21, 2017 at Moss-Wright Park from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Event-goers will be provided a free pair of special protective glasses to view the eclipse. There will be food for purchase, as well as, “water wars” to cool off with the Goodlettsville Fire Department beginning at 10:30am.

MOUNT JULIET PARKS AND REC

Come and join millions as we watch an historical moment on Monday, August 21st from ​11am-3pm. Enjoy ​free admission for all ages. The event will feature Fun field day activities, inflatables, live entertainment, food trucks and vendors! ​

WILSON COUNTY FAIR

Enjoy a day at the fair with rides, concessions, exhibits, and the opportunity to view the 2017 Solar Eclipse at the Motorsports Arena. Glassess will be provided at admission while supplies last! Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for children ages 6 to 12. Children 5 and under are free.

Bonus tip: In true Music City fashion, you can prep for the event by blasting this Eclipse Playlist.

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