Highland County Public Library Hosts Eclipse Party to Remember

The clouds cleared just in time for the peak of the eclipse on Monday as a watch party of about 100 people gathered at the Highland County Public Library. 


“Just look at that! It looks like a light-up crescent! It’s super cool!”


There were many oohs and ahhs like this as the sky darkened, the temperature got cooler, and residents and guests were able to see a clear view of the crescent-shaped sun at 90 percent obscurity.  


“Do you know when the next one is? I don’t know how often these happen?”


“20 years!”


“You’re going to be so old!”


The next U.S. eclipse spanning coast to coast will not happen again until 2045. That eclipse however will curve through California, Arkansas and down into Florida, missing Virginia by quite a bit. So this was an event to be remembered.


Amateur astronomer Michael Bedwell brought out his telescope and the library, through a grant with the Franklin Institute and Mission2Mars, was able to provide binoculars for viewing. Both had special filters to make it safe to look at the sun. 


“Are we in totality yet?”


Right after the peak at 3:16 p.m., the clouds started rolling in, so those in attendance got a good view of the waning sun, but the view of the waxing sun left a bit to be desired. 


“But, we got to see a lot of it!”


While attendees counted down to the peak, they were treated to Moon Pies and Capri Suns, as well as activities and a story time to help solidify the science behind the eclipse and the difference between a total eclipse and an annular eclipse.


Excitement in Highland was high for this celestial event as a whole, with many preparing in advance to watch at home. In fact, the Highland County Public Library handed out multiple pairs of eclipse glasses to more than 40 people who stopped by prior to noon on Monday alone. All-in-all, the library provided about 1,000 pairs of eclipse glasses for this eclipse. 


Our thanks to Mason Sweeney, Jamie, Alyssa and Conner Simmons, Karl Sax, and Mary Stephenson for contributing to this story.

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

Current Weather