March 13, 2017

During the total solar eclipse of Monday, August 21, 2017, visitors and residents in the greater Columbia area will see the longest total eclipse on the East Coast of the United States, at 2 minutes and 36 seconds.

Columbia is the third largest U.S. city on the center line of the “path of totality,” which runs diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. This will be the first total solar eclipse to make a coast-to-coast path across the U.S. since 1918, when it was visible only from five Northwestern states. The next time a total solar eclipse will be visible from the greater Columbia area will be the year 2078.

“The greater Columbia, S.C., area is incredibly lucky, geographically speaking,” says Merritt McNeely, co-founder of the Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia, S.C. initiative and director of marketing for the South Carolina State Museum, one of the region’s eclipse event hosts. “Because of this, we saw the need to come together as a region to offer a weekend full of activities for people of all ages to celebrate this amazing phenomenon.”

A partial eclipse will begin over at 1:13 p.m. EDT. The total eclipse will occur at 2:41 p.m. EDT.

The greater Columbia region will have a weekend of eclipse-related activities hosted by area attractions, arts and culture organizations, restaurants, hotels, retailers, and community groups. Events include a midday Columbia Fireflies baseball game, “Total Eclipse of the Park,” during the eclipse at the Spirit Communications Park at BullStreet; a weekend of ticketed astronomy activities and exhibits at the new South Carolina State Museum observatory, planetarium, and 4-D theater with an event on Monday featuring astronaut Charles Duke; a Sunday “Musiclipse” matinee of space-themed works by the S.C. Philharmonic at the Koger Center; the Solar 17 eclipse viewing event on the Lake Murray Dam; eclipse-related tours and programming at Congaree National Park; and guided historical walking tours at the 12,000 Year History Park on Congaree Creek.

“The cultural offerings during Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia, S.C., will be vast and plenty, leaving lasting memories for those who attend,” notes McNeely. “Our hope is that we impact those who are with us and also leave a legacy of art, music, dance, culinary experiences, educational opportunities, and more during this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

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