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Aug. 21: Mark Your Calendars for the Great Eclipse!
4/11/2017 1:00:00 AM
By: Sarah Haas, Communications Director

(PARK HILLS) – As Southeast Missouri prepares to welcome thousands of world travelers for the Total Solar Eclipse, Mineral Area College employees and community members are getting ready to welcome throngs of visitors for the 2-minute, 18-second celestial happening on Aug. 21.

The partial eclipse begins about 11:52 a.m. and ends at about 2:44 p.m. that day, and MAC’s celebration will officially begin at 10 a.m., winding up at about 2 p.m.

MAC horticulture instructor and organizer of the MAC eclipse effort, Dr. Chad Follis, said a variety of plans were hatched last spring.

“We have a number of active student clubs and organizations on campus whose members are pretty excited about the eclipse,” he said. “It’s a special opportunity, kicking off the fall semester by holding a carnival under the canopy of a rare, astronomical event. It provides an opportunity to have a little fun, but also learn about the complete solar eclipse.”

Follis said groups that are serious about the eclipse can park at and use the baseball field to set up their cameras, equipment, telescopes, blankets and lawnchairs. For those wanting more of a festival experience, the action will happen on the main campus quadrangle, moving out to the parking lot during the peak of the eclipse, which will be narrated over a public address system.

“We’re approaching it from a festive, but educational, angle,” Follis said. “The meaty part of the eclipse happens so quickly, it’ll be important to time everything as punctually as possible. But we’re up to the challenge.”

Eclipse glasses are currently being sold to the public in the Bookstore for $1 each, and any that are left will be sold at the event Aug. 21 until sold out.

Those who come to MAC’s eclipse celebration can also expect to enjoy:

• A special viewing area dedicated to scientists and professionals at the MAC baseball field.
• Cardinals Nest cafeteria dining with limited menu for purchase.
• Missouri Baptist University’s “Kan Jam” game, testing players’ Frisbee-throwing (mini-UFO throwing) ability.
• Psi Beta will have a Lucy Van Pelt-like information booth on eclipse and event information.
• Archery club will have a “Shoot for the Moon” contest.
• PTK will offer watermelon wedges “out of this world.”
• Art Club has created a photo-opp backdrop featuring an intergalactic panorama (based on Georges Melies’s “Trip to the Moon”).
• SGA will have a cornhole (black hole) tournament and offer rocket pops for snacks.
• SMSTA will share free “asteroid” popcorn in their reading circle.
• The agriculture program will have “Nugget the Half-Cow” on hand, to practice artificial bovine insemination, “sticking it where the sun don’t shine.”
• Cricket Wireless is offering free, temporary tattoos and bottled water.
• MAC Food Pantry will have an inflatable for the kids.
• Fine Arts Theatre is scheduled to have a live NASA feed of the eclipse.

One of the first things on MAC officials’ eclipse checklist was to adjust the first day of fall semester. The semester now begins at 4 p.m. that day, with staff and faculty reporting for the work day in the morning, as regularly scheduled.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout from the community,” Follis said. “A number of different kinds of celebrations are happening in the area that sound really great—Bonne Terre airport’s gathering sounds like it’s going to be a party, several local wineries are hosting celebrations. Ours is more of a family-friendly, educational gathering.”

For more information about MAC’s eclipse celebration, contact Dr. Chad Follis, (573) 518-2323 or

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