Total Eclipse in Kent, Ohio

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

A month or two ago, our favorite local weather forecaster said that it’s only an eleven percent chance that April 8th will bring clear skies to Northeast Ohio. He told us to brace ourselves for the possibility that we wouldn’t be able to see as much of the Eclipse as we might like. So, we weren’t too upset when we woke up this morning and could hear raindrops on the roof. Even into the middle part of the morning, the cloud cover in our area was quite heavy. But around midday, things started clearing up beautifully. And it ended up being a genuinely lovely afternoon for enjoying the total eclipse of the sun that happened to be passing through Northeast Ohio.

In the morning, while it was still overcast, I went for a run through downtown Kent and the middle part of the Kent State University campus — just to see what was happening. And honestly, it wasn’t much. There may have been a little more foot traffic than usual. Still, it wasn’t like tens of thousands of people had come to camp out in Kent, Ohio.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

Later in the morning, around eleven o’clock, I went back to downtown Kent to see if I could scrounge up some eclipse-viewing glasses for my parents so they could watch the Eclipse from the back deck of their condominium. I succeeded in securing the glasses at a big white tent set up at the intersection of Main Street and Water Street, along with a magnet and a sticker (I always love a good sticker!). The volunteers working behind the table at that tent were very friendly and eager to engage whatever Eclipse visitor traffic they might receive. Still, at that point in the morning, there weren’t a lot of people out and about. So, I delivered the glasses to my parents, got some lunch at home, and enjoyed the extra rest from this serendipitous Eclipse Day holiday.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

A little after one o’clock in the afternoon, Cor and I decided to walk downtown and see what was happening. We got coffee from Scribbles (I got a Stardust Shaken Espresso!). We talked to friends that we ran into, and learned from some of them that Wendy’s was giving away free Orange Dreamsicle Frosties to anyone who came in wearing their eclipse-viewing glasses. So, we added that to our walking tour. By this point in the day, more and more people were finding their way to downtown Kent by this point. Especially to the fraternity houses on Main Street and the Hometown Bank Plaza in the heart of town.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

We found more friends as we kept walking, including Elliot and Rafaella. And it was right around this time that we finally started to see the path of the Moon drifting into the path of the Sun, when we looked up through our eclipse-viewing glasses. At first, it was just one little Moon bite from the Sun “cookie.” Only visible through the glasses; not at all detectable by the naked eye looking around at our surroundings. Still, it was cool to see it start happening.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

As we were walking over the bridge back towards our neighborhood, we watched a man in his late-60s or early-70s look up through his eclipse-viewing glasses. We smiled at his enthusiasm when he raised his voice to say, “Oh, yeah… Hell, yeah.” The Eclipse was underway.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

Around 2:30 PM, we got back to our house to gather our things and head to the Davey Elementary School Football Field that we had picked as our preferred neighborhood Eclipse-Watching Spot. Marci had made some Eclipse Snacks with circular Rice Krispies Treats representing the Sun, and Chocolate-Covered Ritz Crackers as the Moon. I poured some Eclipse Cocktails, with lighter and denser San Pellegrino on the bottom and darker and less-dense Rum or Grenadine on the top. Then, we walked the quarter of a mile to the field, spread out our picnic blankets, and waited to see what would happen.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

We weren’t the only people to gravitate towards Davey Elementary School. There were kids playing baseball and football, adults with lawn chairs and cameras on tripods. The scene reminded me a lot of W.W. Skiles Field, in Shelby, Ohio, on the night of the community’s fireworks display in early-July. Especially in the last five minutes before the Total Eclipse happened, when the scant sunlight slipping past the Moon made the ambient illumination seem artificial. It was surreal. And special.

Total Eclipse in Kent 2024

When the Total Eclipse finally snapped into place, there was a genuine sense of euphoria. We couldn’t not gasp and scream. Honestly, the experience was significantly more dramatic than I had expected it would be. The glittering corona, with an especially bright, reddish spot on the underside… the 360-degree sunset effect… the glimpse of “stars” (which I was told were actually planets) in the middle of the afternoon… the hushed silence of the natural world… It was magnificent. And memorable.

Eclipse Imagery from Others

As the “dimmer” on the sunlight started dialing back up again, the colors still grayer than usual for that time of day, there were two kids who ran by our spot — presumably a brother and a sister, maybe 7 and 5 years old, respectively. The older brother shouted, “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”

His sister responded with equal enthusiasm: “We just witnessed totality, and that is a fact.

I didn’t fully understand the hype about our town being in the Path of Totality until I got the chance to experience it for myself. I’m glad I did get to experience it, though. I don’t expect to ever see it again in my lifetime. But that might just make it all the more special.

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