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Eclipse viewers drawn to California's Proctor Park

Eclipse viewers drawn to California's Proctor Park

August 23rd, 2017 by David Wilson in Local News

Those at California's Proctor Park relax as they await the moon blotting out the sun for a few minutes to create the total solar eclipse Aug. 21, 2017.

Photo by David Wilson /News Tribune.

The total solar eclipse was an opportunity for a science trip for the home-schooling Richardson family from Holden. From left are, Malachi, Shane, Christy and Tabitha Richardson.

The total solar eclipse was an opportunity for...

Photo by David Wilson /California Democrat.

Hundreds looking for a good place to view the rare total solar eclipse of 2017 chose California for their once-in-a-lifetime event.

Many of those chose Proctor Park, in the south part of the city. Several different family groups from different areas said they were looking for a good experience for the event, and did not want to be in large crowds.

Really, though, what it seemed to boil down to was the traffic. None of them wanted to be in long lines of slow moving cars and trucks.

Although there were more people at the park than at any ordinary time — and cars, trucks and motor-homes were parked bumper to bumper all around the park — the crowds and traffic were still less than many anticipated at other places.

All those spoken to commented on it being a beautiful, well-kept and maintained park. All expressed surprise at finding a fine, small city with a beautiful park available for people who wanted to watch the big event.

For the Richardson family of Holden, this was an educational opportunity. Their children, Malachi and Tabitha, are home-schooled. Parents, Shane and Christy, said it was hard to beat this opportunity for the field of science.

The Schmidgall family of Mediapolis, Iowa, used the solar eclipse as an opportunity for a family trip. The grandfather said 11 of his 12 grandchildren were gathered in California at the park. One grandson could not make it because he was at college in Ames, Iowa.

"We wanted to see the total eclipse, but didn't want to be mired in traffic," he said.

The Stephensons journeyed a little further, coming from Minneapolis and Brainard, Minnesota. They wanted see the eclipse, but wanted to avoid a lot of people and traffic.The Stephensons also said they wanted to tell their friends that they traveled to California to watch the eclipse.

Seeing the eclipse and avoiding big crowds and heavy traffic drew the Lamberts of Springfield to the park, to allow a pre-teen child the experience of a total solar eclipse.

Everyone seemed to be pleased with the City of California, Proctor Park and the eclipse.