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Can't hide it behind the moon

Can't hide it behind the moon

August 23rd, 2017 by Kevin Labotka in Local News

The Pato family from Aldeo, Texas, brought their telescope to view the total solar eclipse Aug. 21, 2017 in California, Mo.

Photo by Kevin Labotka /News Tribune.

The Moniteau County Fairgrounds were filled with the noise of excitement from people of all ages in preparation for the total solar eclipse Aug. 21.

The California Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the viewing event, including free food and protective lenses.

Some visitors came from around the country, from as far north as Green Bay, Wisconsin, to as far south as Aideo, Texas. Either way, some people drove hundreds of miles to see the total solar eclipse that lasted only a few minutes.

The Pato family drove more than 13 hours from Aideo, Texas, to see the eclipse, continuing a tradition, where the grandchildren and grandparents do some sort of event every summer. The family said they decided to come to California, because they were told about how friendly the community was while they had stopped at a gas station.

Then, there was Mike and Jane Schoenebeck from Green Bay, Wisconsin, with their friends, Carole Valentine and Rich Ovans, who had recently moved to the Ozarks.

They picked California because, even though they had seen a solar eclipse before, they had never seen a total solar eclipse. And, California was in the right spot to see the event.

The Schoenebecks drove more than 600 miles to see the total solar eclipse. After the eclipse, the group painted the eclipse at Paint the Town in Columbia, where they drew a picture of the eclipse.

Locally, there was Amanda Campbell, 38, who moved to California from Jefferson City two years ago. She had taken great care to prepare her camera to make sure it continued to work while taking pictures of the eclipse. Campbell had seen a partial solar eclipse in the 1980s.

"The same lens the (eclipse) glasses are made out of is the same that I've screened the front of my camera with to be able to take a photo of it," Campbell said.

Mayor Norris Gerhart was in attendance, as he gave a few words to the crowd, thanking all who came to the event.

Hot dogs and cheeseburgers were given out beforehand for free to those who came. There was plenty of space for everyone and the crowd was quite spread out.

As the moon moved into position, the surrounding area got darker. The fairgrounds grew quieter. Any music that may have been playing was turned off. Conversations ended and the only real sound one could hear was the chirping of crickets and cicadas, but even that stopped when the eclipse happened.

Then, at the total solar eclipse, the fairgrounds looked like it was late in the evening, while in actuality it was only 1 p.m.

Fireworks went off, as the crowd cheered and clapped at the special event happening right above them.

Then, it was quiet again as everyone was taking in the event.

Shortly after the eclipse, as the moon began to move away, members of the crowd again cheered and clapped for what they had just witnessed.