By CYNTHIA SCHUSTER EAKIN
After waiting for 218 years, it’s time for a real solar-bration in Cleveland.
Excitement surrounding the 2024 solar eclipse is building around Cleveland due to the region’s location along the path of totality. Residents and visitors will experience several minutes of darkness when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the sun.A partial eclipse can be viewed from 1:59 p.m. to 4:29 p.m. on April 8, with totality from 3:13 p.m. to 3:17 p.m. The last total solar eclipse in Ohio occurred in 1806. The next total solar eclipse in Ohio will take place in 2099. This year’s eclipse is an opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Great Lakes Science Center is partnering with NASA’s Glenn Research Center and The Cleveland Orchestra for Total Eclipse Fest 2024, a three-day celestial celebration at North Coast Harbor in downtown Cleveland on April 6 through April 8. The outdoor, family-friendly event will feature hands-on science activities, a free community concert by The Cleveland Orchestra on April 7, food vendors, entertainment and free eclipse glasses while supplies last.
NASA experts will be on-site to engage with the public and share ways NASA studies the sun and uses that information to understand its impact on Earth and throughout our solar system. NASA TV will broadcast live from the event on April 8. Leaders from across NASA are coming to Cleveland to take part in the Total Eclipse Festival. The list includes Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, and Jim Free, NASA Associate Administrator, along with Dr. Joel Kearns, NASA Deputy Administrator for Exploration, and Eric Ianson, NASA Deputy Director, Planetary Science Division, and Director, Mars Exploration Program and Radioisotope Power Systems
Program.
Other NASA leaders in attendance will be: Elaine Ho, the agency’s chief diversity officer; Kris Brown, Office of STEM Engagement; Dr. Joseph Westlake, Heliophysics Division Director; Dr. Eugene Tu, with the Ames Research Center; and Dr. Jimmy Kenyon and Dawn Schaible, Glenn Research Center. Special guests will include Dr. Kelly Korreck, NASA program manager for the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses, NASA astronauts and Joshua Dobbs, an aerospace engineer, NFL quarterback and NASA enthusiast. Cartoon character Snoopy has contributed to the excitement of NASA human spaceflight missions for more than 50 years and will join NASA in Cleveland on April 8.
The Cleveland Orchestra’s family concert will be at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The orchestra will perform an “Out of this World” concert program of galactic proportions featuring Richard Strauss’s “Also sprach Zarathustra,” known to fans of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” music from “Star Wars” and more, paired with stunning images from the Hubble Telescope, International Space Station and NASA’s photo archives.
As the home of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center and the prime downtown destination for viewing the eclipse, the Science Center is estimating crowds of up to 5,000 on Saturday and Sunday, and upwards of 30,000 on the day of the eclipse itself. Visit www.greatscience.com for more information about the event.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced plans for “Solar Fest: Come for the Sun, Stay for the Stars” on April 5 through April 8, with the museum extending its hours to be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The four-day festival will have a variety of cosmic activities including live music, album playlist parties celebrating the music of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Sun Ra and Taylor Swift, trivia contests, educational programs, curated celestial-themed artifacts from the museum’s vaults, and an eclipse soundtrack blasting at the museum and throughout downtown on the Rock Boxes. The Rock Hall will offer a weekend-long pass, which includes access to the museum for all four days, a concert by inductee Grandmaster Flash, and a year-long Rock Hall membership. Visit www.rockhall.com for a complete list of activities and ticket details.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is running a countdown on its website, counting down the seconds and minutes to April 8. The museum is offering a weekend-long party starting with, “Think and Drink with the Extinct: Lights Out,” on April 4 for those age 21 and older. Families can enjoy “SolarFest: Eclipse Family Fun Days” on April 6 and April 7. On April 8, the museum will host a community watch party at Wade Oval with live music, special programs and hands-on fun. Go to www.cmnh.org for information.
A community eclipse watch party, “Witness History,” takes place at Dunham Tavern Museum and Gardens, 6709 Euclid Ave., from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 8. There will be eclipse-watching supplies, fun activities for the kids, snacks and entertainment.
Experience the awe-inspiring phenomenon of a total solar eclipse at Crocker Park in Westlake. Complimentary viewing glasses will be available. There will be live music performed by Apostle Jones on April 8 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Merchants across the property will offer exclusive sales.
Celebrate the eclipse with the Lorain County Metroparks at the Nielsen Observatory at Carlisle Reservation Equestrian Center in LaGrange and Lakeview Park in Lorain. The Black River Astronomical Society will have telescopes for viewing and members will share solar eclipse information. A limited number of protective solar eclipse glasses will be available. Go to www.loraincountymetroparks.com for details.
The Lake Erie Crushers are hosting a solar eclipse watch party at the ballpark in Avon on April 8. The event will feature live entertainment, interactive exhibits and activities for children and adults. Free protective glasses will be provided courtesy of North Coast Eye Care. The Lorain County Public Library will be involved, as will Lorain County Community College. Tickets are available for purchase at www.lakeeriecrushers.com.
“Total Eclipse of the Point,” a chance for thrill-seekers to get an early glimpse of Cedar Point this season, will take place in the park on April 8. Guests can visit The Boardwalk, go on select rides and visit the Grand Pavilion Restaurant and Bar. Go to www.cedarpoint.com for more details and ticket
prices.
Put-in-Bay, which is usually pretty sleepy in early April, is planning a “Monumental Eclipse” watch party on the lawn of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. Select hotels and restaurants will be open. Or, you can witness the eclipse from the water, aboard the Jet Express. Several vessels will be on the water the afternoon of April 8. Visit www.jet-express.com.
Great Lakes Brewing Company in Ohio City is partnering with the Simons Foundation In the Path of Totality brewery trail. The Total Eclipse Party at the brewpub will include a limited eclipse beer tapping. Vanilla Blackout Stout is the brewery’s popular Blackout Stout brewed with a sliver of vanilla. There will be live music at the brewpub with Whiskey Throttle from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., viewing glasses while supplies last and limited Vanilla Blackout Stout four-packs for sale. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended for eclipse viewing on the patio.
Heinen’s and Market Garden Brewery are collaborating on a beer for the total solar eclipse. Fittingly, the beer is called, “Totality.” It is a West Coast-style India Pale Ale, according to Ed Thompkins of Heinen’s. The beer will be available on draft at the brewery in Ohio City, as well as in cans at Heinen’s locations. Thompkins said the brewery is planning a launch party. “Like everything here, it’s going to be a beer-drinking holiday,”
he said.