If you are in Southern Illinois on August 21, 2017, it should be like any other summer day but it won’t be. Instead, there will be an electrifying atmosphere as residents and visitors both are anticipating for the magic moment. For close to three minutes, the entire area will become pitch dark during the afternoon as the brilliant sun is completely hidden by the moon, the temperature will plunge by 10 degrees, and animals will behave strangely as you witness a spectacular event that last took place on American mainland in 1979.– the Great American Solar Eclipse 2017. Though Southern Illinois will be bustling with visitors as it will experience the longest totality in the country, there are plenty more reasons to visit this stunning region.
The Eclipse in Southern Illinois
The eclipse starts at 1.20 in the afternoon in Southern Illinois, where the sun will be blocked by the moon for 2 minutes and 42 seconds, the longest blackout this year; in most other places it will last just over a minute.More than 200,000 visitors are expected over the eclipse weekend. The Saluki Stadium of Southern Illinois University will be the focal point of activity with ticketed admission for 10,000 to the event that will have speakers from NASA and the Adler Planetarium, Chicago. Planetary Radio’s Mat Kaplan will host the show. More details are available on .Moonstock, a concert stretching over four days will have Ozzy Osbourne rocking the stage in Cartersville. Walker’s Bluff, the event host, will launch Solar Red, a new Moscato with the label featuring photos of Ozzy and the solar eclipse.
More Excuses to Visit
Before you leave the small college town of Carbondale, you should make it a point to visit Boo Rochman Memorial Park, a fantastic world featuring a dragon-guarded castle replete with maze-like secret passages and dark dungeons. Admission is free but donations appreciated. If you are a wine-lover, do not miss out on the many special solar eclipse 2017 celebration events being rolled out by the renowned Shawnee Hills Wine Trail that covers 11 regional wineries located in the Ozark Mountain foothills.
Apart from tasting the different wines, music, and special events hosted by the wineries, you can try to catch the eclipse from the platform on the Bald Knob Cross, a spectacular 111-foot-tall white porcelain edifice on a 1,000-foot mountain peak. Entry tickets are available on the website of Bald Knob Cross. The Makanda Giant City State Park is a huge draw with its hiking trails and horse rides through woods, and meadows of ferns and wildflowers and the unique sandstone formations dating back some 12,000 years. The more adventurous people can get their adrenaline rush at the eight zip-lines in the Shawnee National Forest’s Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour.
With so many attractions besides the longest totality, you can well expect Southern Illinois to be jam-packed. Even though it can prove very difficult to get accommodation now, do try, as the region has innumerable cabins, B&Bs, campsites, in addition to the guesthouse and hotels.
Bill Williams used to work with NASA for more than a decade. He is an active blogger now and sharing his tips on solar eclipse to help people witness this one in a lifetime event in the proper manner.