BY BRANDON TANIS
Photo credit: Gretchen Pollack
The Rose Memorial Library in Stony Point held a “Solar Eclipse Party” event for family and friends to celebrate the natural phenomenon.
It’s been 38 years since the world has seen a total solar eclipse. August 21, 2017 was destined to be the day where people in America – starting from the west coast and sweeping over to the east coast – witnessed the moon obscuring the sun, altering the amount of light hitting in the earth in an eerie manner.
Moments like these don’t occur very often, which is why Veronica Coffey, a Youth Services Librarian at the Rose Memorial Library, decided to step in and create a memorable event for everyone to participate in. According to the Rose Memorial Library’s Facebook post, the event was solicited to begin at 1:15 p.m. However, that didn’t stop local people from arriving a couple minutes before 1 p.m., while the event coordinators finished setting up the area. More residents arrived shortly after with lawn chairs, beach towels and umbrellas.
“There were a lot of people there and they were of all ages, so that was really great to see,” said Coffey, with a surprised look on her face. “If anything, it was very intergenerational!” The hype behind the solar eclipse appealed to such a wide demographic that it enticed 200 to 250 residents to leave their house to see it. Although people were waiting for the eclipse to happen, there were various activities for them to participate in to help make time pass by more quickly.
Firstly, there was a table where the coordinators provided space-themed food for people to eat. Refreshments such as Sun Chips and space pies were being served, along with bottles of water for attendees to cool off with on that hot afternoon. Stations with button-making crafts and coloring sheets were available for kids who enjoy hands-on activities. There was even an area strictly dedicated to astronomy, storytelling and singing, which captivated the hearts of many children.
As the viewing time approached, attendees prepared for the highly anticipated solar eclipse. Each group got one pair of NASA-approved viewing glasses, which ensure that the eclipse doesn’t deteriorate the vision of any viewers when they look directly at the sun. Residents became prisoner to their watches as they slowly waited for 2:43 p.m. to come.
At 2:43, groups gathered around to see an obsidian black orb that shimmered a fiery orange red glow. It was certainly a momentous sight – given the fact that the next solar eclipse won’t occur until 2024. Although Coffey can’t make any promises, she hopes that the Rose Memorial Library will be able to host another party for the next solar eclipse. During the event, the coordinators passed around a petition for the community to sign off, so the library can be listed on the ballot for November. If they are approved to have a bigger budget, then they plan on moving into a bigger building, along with creating even more events like this one for the community.
“Overall, the Solar Eclipse Party was a major success,” said Coffey with a smile. “We’re looking forward to future events that will generate just as much interest as the solar eclipse did.”