Up the Road: The Sight of a Lifetime


By Catherine Royka

Maps courtesy of Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com 

Millions of Americans will be heading outside on Monday, August 21 to see the long-awaited total solar eclipse. It has almost been 500 years since this area has experienced a total solar eclipse like this. And guess what? Middle Tennessee is one of the top destinations to have the best view of this spectacular total solar eclipse. Our fellow Your Sumner magazine community in Sumner County will have the opportunity to see one of the longest totality times in Tennessee, with almost two minutes and forty seconds of totality (darkness).

If you are not familiar with a total solar eclipse, it is remarkable in that the moon will almost completely block the sun for a period of time, yet the sun and moon are not close to the same size at all, although they may look like they are in the sky. This will occur during the day time, and the moon will completely block the sun for a period of time and the sky will turn dark. The path of totality is only seventy miles wide, touches no land outside the United States, with Nashville as the largest city in its path. Across Middle Tennessee, the time of complete totality will occur just before 1:30pm, with partial eclipse sighting before noon and close to 3pm.

Tennessee is one of the few (and lucky) states that will be able to see this. The “Great American Eclipse” can only be seen from twelve select states, with less than three minutes of totality in each state it crosses. States that can view the eclipse include, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Great American Eclipse estimated that Tennessee is the closest destination for fifty-five million Americans, with a possible 360,000 to 1,440,000 people traveling to Tennessee on eclipse day.

Where can you see this remarkable sight you might ask? We’ve highlighted a couple places around Middle Tennessee that have been preparing and gearing up for their celebrations and watch parties to see the total solar eclipse.

Cheekwood Gardens
Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

Cheekwood is hosting a viewing party for the solar eclipse set to sweep the nation. The rare natural phenomenon is the first total solar eclipse to hit the United States in ninety-nine years, with Nashville serving as the largest city in its path. Enjoy this once in a lifetime experience at one of Nashville’s most beautiful outdoor settings. Typically closed to the public on Mondays, Cheekwood will be open for half price admission from 11am-4pm and will feature live music, food trucks, cash bars and protective eye gear for the viewing. The eclipse here will occur around 1:25pm. For more information, visit cheekwood.org.

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
Solar Eclipse at the Hill

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary in Brentwood is hosting a free viewing event. Feel free to bring a group, picnic and a blanket or chairs for viewing in the meadow. They will have the protective eye gear ready for you! For more information on the event, visit owlshill.org.

Adventure Science Center
Music City Solar Eclipse Festival & Viewing Party

The Music City Solar Eclipse Festival will feature two-days of activities inside and outside, with explorations into science and technology, live music, giveaways, food trucks and viewing party. All outdoor activities are free! Inside the science center, you’ll be involved in unique experiences with demonstrations with ASC Science Educators and community partners, discussions with eclipse scientists and enthusiasts and showings of ECLIPSE: The Sun Revealed. Tickets include a t-shirt and safety glasses. For more information on events and tickets, visit adventuresci.org.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall
Italian Lights Festival & Special Eclipse Viewing Party

The annual Italian Lights Festival of Nashville is back again for four days of activities, music, food and wine, with a big spotlight this year on the total solar eclipse. They are designated as an official NASA viewing location for the 2017 Great American Eclipse. NASA scientists and educators will be at the festival all weekend preparing for the countdown on Monday afternoon. NASA researcher Veronica Zabala and PBS Star Janet Ivey of Janet’s Planets are hosting a variety of solar activities. For more information, visit italianlights.org.

The Gallatin TN Eclipse Encounter

This event has been in the works for a while and will include a special musical performance from Kimberly Locke (Sumner County native), second runner up in the 2003 American Idol season. The day begins at 9am with a yoga session taught by Romy Kirby, followed by hours of live music, food trucks, local vendors and a kid’s zone. Safety glasses will be provided to participants for properly viewing the eclipse. The estimated time of the eclipse will begin at 1:27pm. RSVP on Eventbrite to ensure you have a ticket to this can’t-miss eclipse viewing event. Visit gallatintn.org for more event information.


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