Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Solar Eclipse Part I: Rabun Gap, Georgia

This summer, a rare thing happens. Parts of the United States will experience its first total solar eclipse in 26 years, and the path of totality travels right across the South. While everyone in the country should be able to see a partial eclipse, only those in the direct path will witness the total blockage of the sun. The path of totality — don’t you love that expression? — will cross parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri.

This is a big deal, folks. The last solar eclipse to cross the continental United States was in 1918 and the next solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 12, 2045. And that next one won’t be as good.

Where’s a good place to watch the total eclipse? This will be the first of many blog posts showcasing totality hot spots. Today, we’re looking at Rabun Gap, Georgia.

The only spot in Georgia to spot the total eclipse of the sun is Rabun Gap, Dillard and Sky Valley in Rabun and Stephens counties and Rabun Gap will be the second longest viewing in the entire United States, clocking in at 2.38 minutes. Rabun Gap will be hosting an Eclipse Viewing Party at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21. In addition to watching the sun disappear, there will be live music, vendors, food, Jumbotrons with NASA’s live feed of the eclipse, Georgia State University professors explaining the phenomenun and much more.

"We're expecting 7,000 to 10,000 people," said Teka Earnhardt, executive director of Rabun County Tourism Development Authority. "There will be two LED jumbo screens with NASA feeds, the local marching band, cheering songs, and food trucks."

Admission is $5 and includes glasses for viewing the eclipse (you cannot look at it with the naked eye). There are plenty accommodations in Rabun County but things are filling up fast. Lodging is also available in neighboring counties, Earhhardt said.

Other events include:
Saturday, Aug. 19: Square dance and fish fry from 6-9 p.m. at Andy’s Trout Farm.
Downtown Clayton Scavenger Hunt and Block Party

Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20
Dillard “Experience Extraordinary” Total Solar Eclipse festival at Dillard City Hall in Dillard

Sunday, Aug. 20
Eclipse Gold Tournament and 19th Hole Festivities, Sky Valley Country Club and the City of Sky Valley
Eclipse Lecture at the Rearden Theatre, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School

Monday, Aug. 21
Tallulah Gorge Total Solar Eclipse Festival, Tallulah Gorge State Park

For more information to understand and prepare for the solar eclipse, visit the NASA website or

Cheré Coen is a food and travel writer who loves weird and unusual things, and simply cannot wait until the total solar eclipse.

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