The Sporting Life: Eclipseville and EclipseCon Edition

One of the more intriguing natural astronomical phenomena that everyone, even non-scientifically minded types, finds fascinating is a total eclipse of the sun. These rare events happen when the orbit of the moon around the Earth happens to cross directly into the path of the sun during the day. To us nerds and geeks, even lunar eclipses are fascinating and exciting. But when you “Earth people” experience daylight turning into night for a few minutes, it is HUGE news, and some of you will freak out.

Nashvillians have been hyped for this event for quite some time, and there are many, many events planned to engage groups of people to watch the August 21, 2017 total eclipse. Some are free; some are Sold Out (I see you, Adventure Science Center!); some are just too expensive.

The nature of the phenomenon dictates that there is a narrow swatch of United States geography along which the path of the eclipse ‘travels’ on Monday, August 21, completely traversing the continent in 90 minutes from Oregon to Georgia, yep, that’s like from NorthWest to SouthEast.

Nashville is the largest Metropolitan city that lies in the path of the eclipse, but in reality, the city will not be completely eclipsed. Gallatin will be closer to the line of totality, that narrow band along which the moon will nearly completely obliterate the sunlight. And, there are other communities across the band who will be ‘blacked out’ (weather permitting) that afternoon.

The groovy folks in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, about 65 miles North of Nashville, as the dragon flies (I love Game of Thrones!), have declared their town “Eclipseville” and are having the greatest celebration possible for a town of about 30,000 who are expecting more than 100,000 visitors and guests for the eclipse. You see, they are the largest town on the direct line of totality. Hopkinsville will experience an absolute total eclipse and it will be the longest one anywhere on the continent at a full two minutes and 40 seconds. People are literally coming from all over the world to HopTown, hoppping right past Nashville in the process.

The Downtown Hopkinsville Summer Salute Festival celebration kicks off Friday, August 18, at 10 a.m., and the Jimmy Church Revue will take the Founders’ Square Stage at 5:30 p.m. and probably play until the 9:30 p.m. Fireworks by Budweiser display. The festivities continue Saturday and Sunday with music , lectures, drum circles, Labyrinth walks (don’t ask me; I don’t know), rides, a Bouncy House, the Scuba Experience, the NASCAR Experience, Train Rides, Beer Gardens, and more from 10 am to 10 pm each day.

TANGENTIAL RANT: OK, let’s talk about the weather. Remember when i started out, I called this thing “one of the more intriguing natural astronomical phenomena” and among them are also Halley’s Comet. It’s orbit intersects with Earth’s every 76 years of so. That damn comet swung by Earth in the early 1980’s and would have been visible to the naked eye here in Nashville, except it rained that night, and the frakkin’ clouds completely obscured any chance to see it. Guess who had organized a group of students from TSU to witness the comet from Warner Parks? Guess who plans to live to be more than 100 to actually (maybe) see it next time? Anyway, back to reality … and the here and now, oh, yeah …

Eclipseville, baby! Seriously, check out their website: I already have a sweet spot reserved at the absolute Point of Greatest Eclipse, Orchardale Farm on State Hwy. 624, Cerulean, Kentucky. See you there!?

Don’t sleep on EclipseCon 2017! The inaugural EclipseCon takes place Saturday, August 19 from 10am-7pm and Sunday, August 20 from 12pm-5pm, 2017 at the James E. Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville. With nationally recognized celebrities and vendors in the genres of cartoons, comics, anime, cosplay, sci-fi and superheroes, EclipseCon offers something for everyone.

Meet Samantha Newark, best known for her beloved voice-over work as the speaking voices of “Jem” and “Jerrica” on the wildly popular cartoon series Jem and the Holograms; The Walking Dead’s Santiago Cirilo, who was also a member of the 101st Airborne Infantry and was stationed at Fort Campbell prior to his acting career; award winning creator of sci-pulp series, Vic Boone, Shawn Aldridge; Michaela Dietz from Stephen Universe; Bombshell Pin-Up and comic artist Sam Payne; Billy Martinez from Neko Press; Marvel / DarkHorse comic writer Jacob Rougemont; Invictus Cosplay and Manik Cosplay.

EclipseCon is a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Hopkinsville-Christian County. Tickets are available at the door: Saturday – $20, Sunday – $15; discounted rates for youth and multi-day passes. Ages 8 and under are free. There are also VIP ticket options available.