Dark in the Park


There won’t be any shortage of fun and excitement over the weekend leading up to the total solar eclipse happening this month. Cosmo Park will be the site of a whole host of events, including a free Totality Music Fest, a 5K run, a bike ride, a movie in the park and lots more. For full details, visit www.comoeclipse.com.

On the day of the actual eclipse, Monday the 21st, Cosmo Park will be at the ready. “We’ll be sending families and anyone who wants more of a festival atmosphere there,” says Megan McConachie, strategic communications manager for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The stage from Sunday’s Totality Music Fest will remain up at the park, and there will be live music acts throughout the day. There will be a special kids area with lots of engaging activities. The fun will begin when the park opens in the morning and run throughout the day until around 3 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or camp chairs. Visitors are welcome to bring in their own food and beverages, although no alcohol or glass containers are allowed. Pets should be left at home as well. For those who’d prefer not to carry in food and drinks, an assortment of food trucks will be on hand, including Big Daddy’s BBQ, Kona Ice and Jamaican Jerk Hut.

Parking will be on a first come, first served basis. Shuttle bus service will be available from the Columbia Mall and taking city buses is also recommended. There will be a special bus route in service just for the occasion.

There will also be a viewing event at Gans Creek Recreation Area that day, but McConachie says it is more geared toward those interested in the serious science aspect of the eclipse and those working with large equipment. That event will be smaller and quieter.

To say that the eclipse will be a special event is an understatement. The last time Missouri was in the path of a total solar eclipse was August 7, 1869, almost 150 years ago.

Columbia area residents are fortunate to be smack-dab in the middle of the path of totality, in which the moon blots out the sun totally, turning day into night. The eclipse will begin at 11:49 a.m., reaching totality around 1:16 p.m. for a period of about 3 minutes. The partial eclipse will continue until about 2:30 p.m.
It is being called a celestial event of epic proportions.

“Pictures do not convey the experience of totality. Nothing you read, see or hear can prepare you for the spine-tingling, goosebumps-inducing experience of the total eclipse,” according to Dr. Kate Russo, an eclipse consultant. “You do not simply see a total eclipse. You experience it. You are immersed in it. You are completely overwhelmed by it. Many people say that the experience of totality changes their lives.”

That life-changing experience is something you can share with other eager eclipse viewers at the Cosmo Park viewing event. It will no doubt be an experience you’ll never forget.

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