How Americans in the solar eclipse’s path of totality plan to celebrate the celestial event on April 8, 2024

Monday, April 8, 2024a total solar eclipse will be visible from Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Americans in the path of totality, which will cross the continent from Texas to Maine, will experience a few minutes of nighttime darkness in the middle of the day – and during this brief period, some have predicted unique moments in a life.

Views from van in Del Rio, Texas

Even though Jason Bernert was living in Oregon in 2017, when the last solar eclipse reached totality near Salem, he skipped it. He didn’t understand the hype, he said.

“Then I heard from everyone who went total, like my sister and my family, and they said it changed their lives,” Bernert said.

This year, he and his girlfriend will view the eclipse in what NASA says will be one of the first U.S. cities to go dark: Del Rio, Texas. The couple left Washington, D.C., after Thanksgiving in 2023 in an RV to visit the national parks, and by the end of March, the couple was in Texas.

He said he wasn’t sure how he would feel, but that’s why he wants to go and share this experience with his girlfriend.

“I think it’s already so exciting that she and I have shared so much of our journey together,” Bernert said. “And I think having this big celestial reward of an eclipse will hopefully be like a really big cherry on the cake.”

A wedding with a mass eclipse in Russellville, Arkansas

Once the a solar eclipse crosses Texasit will cover part of the Midwest, including Russellville, Arkansas, where more than 300 couples will weave their futures together in a mass wedding.

There, the eclipse will last four minutes and 12 seconds, with totality occurring at 1:50 p.m. CT.

Rodney Williams, a balloonist from Branson, Missouri, is used to turning the sky into attractions. He organized the event as part of the city’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” festival.

“In about 24 hours, I had almost 20 couples,” Williams said. The event offers free cake to married couples, a non-alcoholic toast and music.

“Sometimes planning a wedding can be stressful,” Williams said. “Not just the money, but also all the decision-making and all the different ideas that may not all coincide with each other.”

So on April 8, when the eclipse begins, “The Voice” singing competition winner Craig Wayne Boyd will preside over the ceremony and more than 600 newlyweds will dance for the first time to sing “Golden.”

Meditation and Manifestation at Lake Erie, New York

Natan Dahlkemper was engaged on April 8. The idea crossed their minds during the solar eclipse of 2017 in Tennessee, where Dahlkemper experienced totality with his community.

Coming together with 1,000 other queer people was inspiring, Dahlkemper said — it was life-changing, especially among people watching the eclipse the same way.

On Monday it will happen again.

Although Dahlkemper is no longer getting married, they will welcome people from the LGBTQ+ community from across the country at an event Lake Erie, New York, close, where the eclipse will reach totality after 3 p.m. ET.

“A lot of the celebrations will be very corporate,” Dahlkemper said. “I couldn’t imagine being in this environment during this cosmic event.”

For five days, dozens of people from the Dahlkemper community will gather. They will first work together to set up common spaces, including a nightclub in a barn. There will be yoga meditations to set intentions for the eclipse and a ceremony to honor queer ancestors and the elements of Earth. They will also host an event to decorate the eclipse glasses.

“The Sun, the Moon and the Earth give us a show,” Dahlkemper said.

“I think if you celebrate it alone, or if you really don’t put intention into it, you won’t get as much out of it — you’ll want to be in a more intentional space with people.”


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