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Eclipse Fever Hits Delaware: Where to Watch and What to Expect

By: Robin Yocum

Did you know that author Washington Irving was from Tarrytown, N.Y., and one of his most famous stories was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which features the vile headless horseman. Today, the athletic teams at Sleepy Hollow High School are nicknamed the Headless Horsemen.

That has nothing to do with this blog, but it’s one of the many cool factoids that I planned to share with my readers.

Unfortunately, my bosses at Destination Delaware are insisting that I write a blog about the upcoming total eclipse, so blame them if you feel cheated.

On April 8, there’s going to be a total eclipse of the sun, like that Don McLean song, which was good, but not as good as American Pie or even Vincent.

The bossman at Destination Delaware, Tim Wilson, said to interview someone smart who knows about outer space and how the universe works.

“Like Steven Hawking or William Shatner?” I asked.

“Hawking would be great, but since he’s dead I’d say there’s little chance you’ll be able to contact him,” Tim said. “And, Shatner was a pretend space captain. Let’s try someone a little less deceased than Hawking and more informed than Captain Kirk.”

I called Jake Thompson, my high school science teacher. He’s a smart dude. (He has a master’s degree in astronomy, but for the record, he didn’t know that Sleepy Hollow High School’s nickname is the Headless Horsemen.)

I asked Mr. Thompson to explain the eclipse in a manner that could be understood by a fourth grader or a former newspaper reporter trying to eke out a living writing blogs for the local convention and visitors bureau.

Turns out, it’s not that complicated. There are essentially three planets involved. One is earth, which is where most of the people reading this blog live, the moon and sun.

At 3:08 p.m. on April 8, the eclipse will begin as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun, totally blocking it out light in Delaware County. It will last about four-and-a-half minutes.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“Yeah. We went over this in the ninth grade. You never paid attention.”

In ancient times, tribes believed a total solar eclipse was a sign of the Gods’ anger and punishment for some unknown indiscretion. To appease the Gods, a bunch of virgins would be immediately sacrificed. Of course, a few minutes later the sun was back out, and everything was fine except there were dead virgins everywhere and the tribal leaders had some explaining to do to some very upset parents.

However, we’re much more sophisticated in 2024 and we understand that this is simply the alignment of the planets. So, no human sacrifices!

Here’s the cool part. There is a 124-mile band in which the sun will be completely blocked out and Delaware County is in that path. We’ll have a great view of the darkness. However, you must wear special glasses or you’ll risk burning out your retinas, which is not as bad as being sacrificed, but no fun just the same.

Here are some places in Delaware County where you can watch the eclipse:

– Blues Creek Park – 9627 Fontanelle Rd. in Ostrander.

– Deer Haven Park – 4183 Liberty Rd. in Delaware. Tacomania food truck serving from 1-4 p.m.

– Delaware County Fairgrounds – 236 Pennsylvania Ave. in Delaware. This may be the hottest place in Delaware County to watch the eclipse. The fairgrounds will have entertainment, vendors, food and rides. And you can camp out if you want to arrive early or stay late. You can bring your tent or your RV. To reserve a camping site, contact the fair office at 740.362.3851 or at fair@delawarecountyfair.com. There will be a $5 a car parking fee for anyone attending.

– Emily Traphagen Park – 5094 Seldom Seen Rd. in Powell. (Seldom Seen Road is only the second most unusual road name in Delaware County. Three B’s & K Road has first place locked up.)

– Gallant Woods Park – 2150 Buttermilk Hill Rd. in Delaware. Hogback BBQ food truck serving from 1-4 p.m.

– Henmick Farm & Brewery – 4380 N Old State Rd. in Delaware. (Actually, it’s just outside of Kilbourne.)

– Hickory Woods Park – 1271 Pollock Rd. in Delaware. Fridas Authentic Mexican food truck serving from 1-4 p.m.

– Highbanks Metro Park – 9466 Columbus Pike in Lewis Center.

– Mingo Park – 500 E. Lincoln Ave. in Delaware. All Delaware City parks will be open dawn to dusk.

The last time we had a solar eclipse in Ohio was 1806. The next one won’t be until 2099, at which time I will be 143 and who knows if I’ll even be able to walk to Delaware Beach by that point, so I’m not missing this one.

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