A visitor’s guide to the 2024 solar eclipse


By Eamon Baird

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TROY — Miami, Shelby, and Auglaize Counties are all in the full path of totality for the solar eclipse on April 8. An event like this hasn’t happened in the area since 1806 and will not occur again until 2099.

Ohio is estimated to attract between 139,000 and 556,000 visitors. Additionally, roughly 7,275,000 people live inside the path in the state.

Officials with the visitor centers and chambers of commerce for these counties discussed what tourists should expect in April for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

“With eclipse events happening throughout the area from Friday, April 5 through Monday, April 8, we anticipate a lot of people will be coming into the county over the course of the weekend leading up to the eclipse,” said Leiann Stewart, executive director of the Miami County Visitors Bureau.

“If attendance projections are correct, and 50,000 guests come to Shelby County to view the eclipse on April 8, tourism that day will “eclipse” the largest single days attendance of our Country Concert,” said Jeff Raible, president of the Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

“Well this being the hometown of Neil Armstrong, tourists are drawn to our Armstrong Air and Space Museum,” said Jackie Martel, executive director of the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s been many years of preparation for an event like this, where we expect a big location or space enthusiast, as well as eclipse chasers, to come and experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

There will be special events throughout the weekend before the eclipse for locals and out-of-town visitors.

Stewart said some of the bigger events occurring in Miami County include:

• A Solarbration Weekend at the Miami County Fairgrounds;

• Eyes on the Skies at WACO Air Museum and Airfield;

• The Solar Eclipse Block Party in downtown Tipp City;

• A Night of Stars in downtown Troy.

“Our website, www.miamicountysolareclipse.com, has our entire listing of solar eclipse events, as well as lodging, viewing areas, and other things to do while in the area,” Stewart said.

“Many local community groups and businesses are organizing special performances, activities and menus. As an example, the Historic Sidney Theater is hosting the Eclipse of Ohio Jam on April 6 at 7 p.m., a special screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with shadow cast at midnight on April 7 and Echoes of Pink Floyd (a tribute concert with laser light show) on April 8 at 7 p.m.,” Raible said.

A complete list of events, restaurants, and attractions for Shelby County can be found at www.visitsidneyshelby.com/the-2024-solar-eclipse-shelby-county-style.

“We have some 20 restaurants and bars and eateries and especially the ice cream shops, too, are popular on the moon menu trail. They all feature space-themed food, drinks, and sweets. And it’s like an online list of places to go and when you get so many to so many places that get entered into gifts,” Martel said.

More information about the moon shop restaurants can be found at www.firstonthemoon.org/moon-menu-trail.

One likely issue will be the traffic ascending in the area, especially on Monday, April 8. Visitors and residents should anticipate long travel times and congestion, particularly on Interstate 75.

“We are encouraging local organizations to consider ways to reduce traffic on Monday afternoon. Most county departments are closing or dismissing early that day. Most county departments will be closed that day, other than offices that deal with public safety,” said Joel Smith, emergency management director of Miami County.

“Over the road travelers will be wise to take their time and anticipate delays on local roadways. As a host community we are encouraging those visiting to extend their stay and spend Monday night in one of our many fine hotels,” Raible said.

“The state tourism and emergency management has been working with Auglaize County, as well as all the counties in Ohio that are in the path of totality for well over a year. And that was one of their biggest recommendations to help with the traffic management was to ensure that there were plenty of reasons to come early and stay late,” Martel said.

Those viewing the eclipse must get special glasses to observe it safely. Many places in the area are selling or giving away these glasses.

“Anyone in need of glasses can stop by our office to pick them up during regular office hours Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, events happening throughout the county, during the eclipse weekend and on Monday, April 8, will have glasses to hand out free of charge while supplies last,” Stewart said.

“Locally, at Our Creative Marketplace in Anna. In Sidney, at Walmart, Menards, Moonflower Effect, Sidney Alive, The City Carryout, and the Sidney Visitors Bureau. Additionally, while supplies last, at all locations of the Shelby County Library,” Raible said.

“We have many locations selling them: Armstrong Air and Space Museum, the Riverside Art Center and several other stores in town. And as well as many businesses, and events are giving them away, our libraries started this week giving them away,” Martel said.

The local visitor centers and area chambers of commerce hope this event is memorable for all who visit the area.

“Well, when you come to Wapakoneta, you get that extra flair of being in moon city. This is really what we do. Well, we have a summer moon festival every year that brings thousands to the area. So we do know how to have very thematic types of activities for people to enjoy of all ages, really,” Martel said.

“We think visitors will have a wonderful experience during the eclipse,” Stewart said. “Our hope is that they will want to come back to spend more time with us in the future at our attractions, museums, parks, restaurants, and shops. Miami County is very friendly and hospitable, and we have a lot to offer people coming to our community.”

“For several years now, our chamber has been working to shape public opinion that Shelby County is a great place to work and a community of choice for residency. Most new residents in our fine community were visitors first. It’s the realization that sustains our focus when marketing Shelby County for leisure-time tourism,” Raible said. “Pray for clear skies and lots of sunshine. April 8 has the potential to be spectacular in many ways!”

For more information about the 2024 eclipse, including lodging, community events and emergency preparedness, go to the following websites:







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