Eclipse Over Texas brings once-in-a-lifetime solar event to Waco

People from around the globe traveled to Waco to experience the eclipse. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer, Kaitlin Sides | LTVN Reporter

Walking through the gates brought anticipation and excitement as the day began at Eclipse Over Texas for the official solar celebration. The event, put on by the Waco Tourism Public Improvement District, was nothing short of impressive and brought a special touch to the once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

While the event included a multitude of booths, food and educational speakers, the main show was the nearly pitch-black atmosphere during full totality. After today, a total solar eclipse will not cross the path of North America again until 2044, but even then, totality won’t be visible from Texas.

There were a variety of booths, including NASA and the Mayborn Museum Complex. Many had kid-friendly eclipse-themed activities and educational games.

The event featured educational speakers who spoke in various languages about multiple topics related to astrophysics and the eclipse.

Waco Municipal Court Judge Bobby Garcia said Eclipse Over Texas was very well done and brought people from all over the United States to Waco.

“I have to give credit to Jonathan — the parks and rec director here in Waco,” Garcia said. “He’s awesome, because I’ve been to a lot of different cities, and he does a really good job organizing events. And as directors, you know, we did a lot of volunteer work, fixing it up, and I’m sitting with some people from California, Chicago and Boston. That’s really cool. There are people from all over here just checking this out.”

As the day progressed, the number of people at the event multiplied until finally, it seemed like the barriers were wall to wall, with attendees eagerly awaiting the unknown of the total solar eclipse.

The first contact occurred at 12:20 p.m. The sun was bright and glowing, and it looked like someone had taken a tiny bite out of the right side of it. Although it looked eerie through glasses, the sky still appeared normal.

As time continued, the atmosphere seemed to get darker and darker. Eventually, the sun was halfway covered, and people all around were in awe, trying to take pictures while placing glasses over their phone cameras.

At 1:13 p.m., the sun became a tiny sliver, and the entire sky began to look overcast. At 1:27 p.m., the atmosphere was growing dim, similar to how it would feel before a rainstorm. Minutes from full totality, the crowd began to clap as the announcer continued.

Totality happened at 1:38 p.m., bringing near-complete darkness with a whoosh of cool air. The world had an eerie sense of stillness. At 1:42 p.m., the sun returned, and brightness returned to the Earth as the crowd began to clap again.

Festival attendee Glynnis Piccione said her excitement for the festival was mainly fueled by the darkness that would come with totality.

“I’m excited about it, but I think ultimately it will be cool for it to be dark in the middle of the day,” Piccione said.

Kalena Reynolds is a sophomore Journalism major from Phoenix, AZ with minors in art history and media management. In her first semester at the Lariat, she is excited to meet new people and continue her love for writing and story telling. Aside from writing, Kalena is also on the equestrian team at Baylor and has a deep love for music and songwriting. After graduation, she plans to go into the music industry.